The verses for this week are:
John 15 English Standard Version (ESV)
I Am the True Vine
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 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.
This verse came to mind last weekend while my youngest daughter and I were pruning the trees in our backyard. I was teaching her how to cut off the dead branches, and how to prune the back some of the other branches to help the tree go taller. I quoted this verse to her, as it was one of my favourites from when the quizzers did it 3 years ago.
But even though I already knew the verse well, something new struck me as I was working over the words this week.
every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Even the branches that ARE bearing fruit, he prunes. He wants us to be able to bear MORE fruit.
In the context of things we get involved in, and the various ministries we work in and the volunteer work we do, although they might be good things, could they be pruned?
If there is a project, or volunteer work, or ministry that you are involved in, and it’s not necessarily the thing you are most passionate about, should you cut it off? or at least prune back, or reduce the time spent on it? Maybe God has another person in mind, whose strengths and giftings are perfect for this role and you are in the way?
If we view things in the perspective of God’s kingdom, as opposed to our own little world, where should we be and what should we be focusing on?
I am not suggesting that every time you volunteer or help out that you question if this is where God wants you to be and if it is your calling in life. But sometimes we need to look at our busy schedules and do some pruning!
Letting go of things that are good can be hard, but we need to allow God to be able to work in us so that we can bear even more fruit and sometimes that means stepping back or even stepping out.
Summer is a good season to reflect and pray on areas of your life that could use some pruning, so that in the fall, when many programs and ministries start up, you can fully and passionately give and allow God to bear fruit.
If we do this, Verse 11 gives us a promise:
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
How amazing is that?