I am the true vine and My Father is the vinedresser. John 15:1 ESV
One of my favorite things as a child during summer was watching my dad tend his small garden. He truly had a green thumb. I knew our supper table would be graced with juicy tomatoes, green onions, and cucumbers. Oh, and those tiny hot peppers that he enjoyed eating with pinto beans.
I remember one summer when I wanted to try my hand at my own flower bed. My dad was good at planting, etc. but teaching was not his strong suit. I watched my dad prepare the soil and plant the seeds. Occasionally, I was allowed to water.
Fast-forward to 2002 when I got married. We bought an old family house. Someone had formed a flower bed using railroad ties. Finally, a flower garden of my own. But I was just as inexperienced as to knowing what to do as when I was a child. However, I wanted to give it a shot.
I planted tulip bulbs, hostas, day lilies, knock-out roses, daffodils, azalea bushes, irises, and hydrangea bushes. Instead of flower bouquets for anniversaries, I would pick out something at a garden center that I could put into the ground. At Easter I would put a live lily on my mother’s grave and then bring it home after Easter and plant that as well.
I tried to keep up with the weeding and watering. I found it difficult to keep a balance of flower heights. My tulips grew beautifully the first year. But the years following, their numbers decreased. Oh, how I wished my dad was here to teach—or take over my attempts at gardening.
Our Heavenly Father is truly the Master Gardener. Jesus states that fact in John 15. Take a few moments to read that chapter. He refers to Himself as the “True Vine.” We are simply the branches. An order is established. Jesus reiterates the importance of maintaining this proper set-up in verse 5 just in case His followers ever lost perspective. He did that for our benefit as well.
As branches, we cannot survive without the Vine. We receive the nourishment we need to bear fruit. I know that I (and I think I can safely say “we”) have tried to thrive on our own. Maybe we have attempted to take the pruning shears from the Gardener. It never ends well. The Master Gardener sees the whole picture. He knows exactly where we should be planted so that we can bloom our best for Him. The branches don’t receive the credit for how well they flourish. The Gardener does.
So, if you’re attempting to “self-prune” I encourage you to put the shears back where they belong—into The Master Gardener’s hand. Allow Him to cut off the dead, ineffective areas of your life. Then watch for the beauty and growth this process allows. It may be painful at first, but so worth it in the end.
Dear Heavenly Father, You indeed are the Master Gardener. Plant me where I will bloom best for You! Prune the areas that may be hindering my growth in You. May the beauty You create in my life point others to Jesus Who is the True Vine. Amen.