Jesus was a great storyteller. I know that He knew He would have followers like me that need pictures and illustrations to deeply understand His teaching. And, you know, the more I work with His creation, the more I understand about Him. It’s by getting my hands into His workmanship that I finally begin to “get” what He’s been trying to say.
The girls and I planted herbs today, and as I worked with them in the dirt, I began to ponder Jesus’ passage about being the Gardener.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful… Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” (John 15)
Working with plants today was a reminder that we are God’s dearly loved children, and as such, we have a loving Father who prunes away all that does not honor Him. Hallelujah! Who wants that stuff in our lives anyway! Just as I had to tend the soil, plant the plants, and now I’ll have to water them and baby them through the frost and scorching sun, God has to tend to me as well. It takes time and effort to get herbs to grow into plants that are fit for cooking, just as it takes Him time and effort to mold me into something useful for His purposes. As long as my herbs stay connected to me, and as long as I remain in Him, we will both receive what we need to be more fruitful. And just as I will continue to nurture my herbs, He will be faithful to continue pruning me – for HIS glory. It’s painful and it’s not always fun, but the result is a life more suited to accomplishing His purposes in a lost and hurting world.
Have you been fighting Jesus on pruning something out of your life? An attitude, perhaps? Maybe an expectation of how things “should” be? Are you fighting so strongly to hold on to material things that He can’t use you for His purposes? Will You allow Him today to chip that away? His work is LIFE to people who need Him, and He wants your participation. Will you yield to His pruning?
Continue Your work in me, my Master Gardener!