God’s Idea of Gardening

“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.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.”  John  15:1-3.

The vine is the part that goes into the ground, gets the nutrients and water for the the branches and generally keeps the plant anchored so it can bear fruit.  The branch can’t survive without the vine, just like there can be no fruit when the branch is withered and dead.

It might sound like God is utilitarian, but He’s not.  Dead branches weigh down the vine and tend to be diseased as well as useless.  They can infect the other branches through the trunk.  Have you ever seen a vine with a dead section of stalk where a branch has died and infected the main body?  I have and from what I know of gardening (which sparse but informed on this issue) the vine usually has to be shortened to below that infected spot or it infects the whole stalk.

For a branch to die it has to close off in some way to the vine.  The purpose of the vine is to grow branches so there can be fruit, a natural outcome as far as I can see, so any branch which shuts down defeats the purpose of being a branch and blocks the efforts the vine to grow.

The wording of Jesus’ declaration is important too:  “I am the true vine…” implying there were some false vines around trying to grow fruit too.  The disciples were attached to the true vine, and clean because of His spoken word, which says to me they might not have been ready for what was around the corner but the Word of Christ cleared their hearts.  Their understanding was limited, of course, but they were cleaned from the pollution of the bad theology and religious nonsense.  Yet they would have a long a way to go afterward as well.

His instruction here isn’t for the faint of heart because He warns us what will happen to even the healthy branches—they get cut too.  All the dead leaves, bad fruit and off shoots from our branches that don’t bear fruit at all will be pruned back to make way for the healthy.  God isn’t worried about our comfort, it seems, because He’s willing to cut back on those things which distract us from being so.

Both types of branches get cut—the dead and the living.  One gets thrown into the fire as a whole; the other loses something but gains freedom to be fruitful.  I feel like I’m speaking in circular logic here but it’s hard for me to paint the picture in words.  God’s purpose for our lives is that we be spiritually wealthy, then if worldly wealth comes, it’s just an affectation but not the main characteristic, though a useful tool.

The difference between the healthy and dead branches, however, is that one can green, pliable and full of the juice of life, while the other is withered, hard and dried up.  A careful gardener (and the Father is the most careful) will pinch off even leaves which appear to have sunspots or gone brown.  These block the sunlight and rain for the rest of the leaves which absorb the moisture and sunlight.

Do you see why God has to prune back our lives many times?  The world’s goals block the Sonlight, getting in the way of our ability to be nourished by the energy of Jesus, then their dead, brown and hard little ways refuse to let the moisture of God’s rain through where it can do the most good.  He takes away from our lives useless and wholly dysfunctional lifestyle habits or viewpoints and opens us up to the joy of the Holy Spirit’s moving as the breeze and wind, the warmth of His life-light and the rain of His blessing.

If God is pruning our lives, we should be grateful, for He never removes something we think we need unless it is getting in the way and killing us spiritually.


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One Response to “God’s Idea of Gardening”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    After a while, you stop asking why things are taken away and know it’s for the best. I went to Napa several years ago and toured vineyards. There is SO much correlation to the life of Jesus and the grapevine that it was no mistake he used the analogy.

    The pruning hurts for a brief moment in time and then we move forward!

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