The vine dresser in our story understood and applied the wonderful principle of 'leaving more behind .' If you're a home gardener, I imagine you do, too. Early every spring you pay special attention to your dwarf apple trees or your prize rose bushes. Why? Because you know that the size and condition of the fruit or flowers you hope to enjoy later in the year will depend on what you do now.
And what you have to do now is prune.
One gardening manual in our house defines pruning as 'removing unwanted plant parts for a purpose.' You cut away unnecessary shoots. You pinch back buds and foliage to redirect growth. Your purpose is more fruit or bigger blooms.
The same is true in our spiritual lives. Jesus shared a powerful secret of the vine that night in the vineyard when He said, 'Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.'
Clearly, Jesus wanted you and me to understand what God, in His great love for us, does to increase our fruitfulness.
The whole idea of spiritual pruning tells us that we have to let go of a lot of our 'pretty good' to receive God's very best...
In a grape plant, pruning redirects the sap away from wasteful growth and toward desirable fruit. In our lives, pruning is God's way of making room for more of what matters most, and redirecting the flow of His life through us so that we'll produce more of what will last for eternity.
Secrets of the Vine for Women, Darlene Wilkinson
I know I've quoted this book before, hopefully not this exact same passage. In any case, it's words feel pertinent now, so I share them here as I reflect: how tempting the desire to flourish a lot of green leaves in a stiff spring breeze. How confounding to find these healthy leaves cut away before the fruit is even formed. In between feels like nothing.
But some things don't realize their full purpose in today.
Some things have their purpose in a day that is yet to be.