Thoughts on Pruning

The Toonstra family was with us for our annual missions convention over the weekend.  They are a delightful family, and based on your generosity, must have touched your heart with their personal experience of giving up a comfortable life and life-style to plant a church in Macedonia.

During the Sunday School hour, Joel shared with us from John, Chapter 15.  As you may recall this chapter begins with Jesus saying, “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.”

Joel illustrated that with a rose, but my thoughts immediately went to grapes.  I have some experience with those and know what a difference proper pruning makes.  This is how it should be done:

It seems to be radical.  Wouldn’t you get more grapes if you left the vines long?  Perhaps it might seem that way, and in fact you will get more grapes, but they won’t be the plump juicy grapes that you want to enjoy.  Let me share a story.

A family member had a grape vine.  I had urged him to prune it back severely so that the roots only had to nourish shorter vines.  “No,” came the reply.  “I need all the grapes I can get.”  I didn’t push.  A few years later, and that person found it necessary to cut back the vines.  The results were spectacular.  Instead of little-finger-nail size grapes, they  were large, the grapes were very good and there were more grapes in each cluster.

That’s what God the father does to his fruitful followers.  He removes part of the vine so that what remains will be stronger, healthier and more fruitful than ever.

What excess are you supporting on your “vine?”  Is your life so full of activities and commitments that you are stretched, overloaded and not able to do your best?  What needs to be pruned?

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Pruning

  1. Sam,
    I read with interest your “ponderings” on pruning and how your thoughts immediately went to grapes. That is where my mind would have taken me.
    While I was on my trip I was able to visit the wine country and could see hundreds and hundreds of rows of grape vines. Each row was pruned identically. They were neat and beautiful to see. We were also able to see the large, beautiful grapes that these vines had produced. Beautiful green grapes and lovely deep purple grapes, luscious and delicious.
    We were honored to be able to meet the owner of this vineyard and he explained, in broken English, why they were pruned the way they were. He picked a bunch of grapes and gave them to us to eat. Then he asked us to stay with him for a few moments. Our reward was to see the grape harvester come to the vineyard and begin to harvest the grapes. Because they were all pruned almost exactly alike the harvester was able to run down one row and up another with no problem.
    We were later able to see how the grapes were crushed, the juice extracted and stored in stainless steel vats, and were able to drink New Wine, the juice of the grapes which had been harvested that morning.
    My thoughts went to how everything had worked in concert to be able to produce the final product. From the pruning, the growing, the harvesting and the juice for the wine.
    I thought later about how we, as children of Christ, need to work in concert with Him to be able to produce a final product – the bringing of souls to our Savior for salvation.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with our blog readers. :up: That must have been neat to see that with your own eyes.