The Vine and the Branches
I have an allotment which is my go to place for some peace and quiet. It's hard work but gives me immense satisfaction. A couple of years ago I had the thought that I would plant some apple trees. It just happened that as I was going into Tesco there was a box of fruit trees on sale, 2 for £10, so I bought 4 and planted them.
I spent time watching YouTube videos on how to prune new trees and then set off with my secateurs to have a go. I think I must have made a reasonable job of it, as that spring they were covered in blossom and in the summer I had a wonderful crop of delicious apples. I have just been giving them their winter prune and am full of hope for another good crop, that's assuming that the crows and squirrels don't get to them first!
It's made me realise how God must feel when he sees the results of his pruning of us. In John 15 Jesus says "I am the true vine", and his "Father is the gardener", he goes on to say that we are "the branches". Just like the vine and the apple trees we are grafted into the strong root stock that brings forth good delicious fruit but only if it remains attached to the root.
So pruning is essential for my trees and our lives, if we are to be fruitful for Christ. Sometimes this pruning can be painful, especially when we resist but there is hope of fruit to come. As we find ourselves still in lockdown this February let's take time to step aside and ask God, the gardener, how he wants to shape us and make us more like Jesus.