Given April 2008
The grape vines in my yard are just beginning to put out leaves from the tiny buds that appeared a few weeks ago but they are looking pretty sparse now. I remember this same vine as a child as it grew in my grandfather’s yard, (mine now), up into an apple tree nearby and got bigger and bigger every year. However, I have learned the process of pruning.
At first I thought, as I cut off a substantial length of the vine, that I was wasting valuable buds that would produce leaves and grapes. But I had learned that you should only keep 10-16 buds on each cane so the energy of the plant will be concentrated on that small number, thus producing bigger and better grapes. It was good to cut off some of the extra vine so the remainder would be better. And the old, diseased, weaker or dead parts, they definitely have to go for the good of the vine.
Jesus said in the 15th chapter of John, “…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.” Pruning hurts. Giving up part of yourself is hard to do. But, if you want to be productive in the Kingdom of God, it must be done. Lots of vines and leaves may look good but you know what happened to the fig tree that had no fruit, (Mark 11). As Christians, God wants us to produce fruit; to be productive but to do so we have to shed the parts that are not producing for the Kingdom.
I’ve learned that just as I have to prune my grapes, the parts of me that are unproductive must be cut off as well. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me…” (Psalm 139:23-24), and cut it off. Not my will Father, but yours be done. It’s up to us. If we want fruit, we must submit to the pruning.