Pruning Results in Fruitfulness
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” John 15:1–3 (esv)
The current economic recession has not been easy for many families. I know people who have lost their homes, or been forced to sell and down-size. Our income has been cut by more than half in recent years.
God has used this time of economic challenge to prune me—to strip away the non-essentials. I don’t like pruning, but I long for the resulting fruitfulness: to be more like Jesus, and to make a difference for Him in this world.
Our culture is far removed from vines and branches—our food comes wrapped in cellophane or cardboard. Unless we take a tour of Napa, we may never even see a vineyard. It’s easy to forget that pruning is an essential gardening task, which actually results in fruitfulness.
In the original Greek text, the word translated “takes away” (sometimes translated “cuts off ”) is airo. An ancient practice of vinedressers was to prop up unproductive vines with trellises, improving air circulation and hence productivity. Airo, some scholars feel, refers to that nurturing practice, rather than a more violent lopping that the English implies.
As my material wealth has been pruned, contentment, patience and long-suffering have shyly unfurled, like hesitant buds in spring. I’m more compassionate toward the poor, more tender. I’m also more likely to pray for God’s daily provision, and see what comes as gifts from His hand, not my own. My job is not to try to keep the Father from pruning, but to cling always to Jesus, and trust.
FAITH STEP: Where do you need to be pruned? Where do you need to be lifted up, cleaned up, so that you can be fruitful? What practices do you have in place in your life to keep you clinging like a branch to a vine?
Written by Keri Wyatt Kent