Today’s Reading: John 15:1-8 & Psalm 25
“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. John 15:1-2
I spent the first five years of my ministry in upstate New York, an area well known for its grape production. Being born and raised in the south side of Chicago, I could never have imagined the pruning that goes on in a vineyard! The first time I saw how severely the growers pruned the vines, I wondered if there would be any grape harvest at all that year. But then came autumn and the harvest—and what a harvest there was!
In a vineyard, pruning is absolutely necessary if there is going to be fruit. And we—fruit-bearing branches of the True Vine—expect to be pruned so we will be even more fruitful. God has great expectations at harvest time!
Admittedly, we’d prefer not to be pruned. We don’t understand God's work, and, frankly, pruning hurts. But do we believe Jesus is right when He says our Heavenly Father is, indeed, the Gardner? Do we believe the Gardener knows what He’s doing? And that what He is doing revolves around His gracious will for us…and that He has great expectations for us?
What great expectations does the Gardener have for you? Whatever they may be, remember this: Your “pruner” is your Heavenly Father. He prunes as a loving Father…each branch gently and individually. And so our Lord said, “This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples” (John 15:8).
Heavenly Father, who lovingly prunes all who bear fruit, let Your pruning give us the energy, insight, and wisdom we need to become even more fruitful, always and ever firmly remaining in the True Vine, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
What hardship or struggle do you bear today that could make you even more fruitful tomorrow? Pray about it.