Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Lesson from My Garden

John 15:1-2 GNB I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He breaks off every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit, so that it will be clean and bear more fruit.

As my tomato plants began to grow, I was able to watch them and trim back some of the branches. I know that the pruning process is beneficial for plants and this really helped with early production of tomatoes. Once the plants began to produce, I held off the trimming. Hot temperatures and little rain slowed everything down and I didn't follow up with the pruning.
When we returned from our vacation this summer I found a lot of itty bitty tomatoes on a few branches and the ones that didn't produce were trimmed again. I've been home for over a month now and haven't trimmed again. My plants are loaded with green tomatoes and the branches have run amok. I got so excited about the quantity of fruit that I neglected to concern myself with its quality. So far, the tomatoes that are ripening are only half the size they should be.
I have discovered that pruning must occur not only during the early growth phases, but in latter as well. I want to bear enduring fruit and good fruit. If I want my fruit to continue to grow to fullness, I need to carefully prune each branch or I will have to settle for tiny tomatoes that will fall off my sandwiches if I slice them. Then I ask if quantity is better than quality. Well I guess that depends on who you are or how you look at it. I would rather have 5 pounds of large tomatoes that are good to the taste than 5 pounds of tiny tomatoes that are have a weak taste and texture because of a lack of fullness. Fullness.
Jesus follows up with: John 15:8-9 GNB "My Father's glory is shown by your bearing much fruit; and in this way you become my disciples. 9 I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love." Much fruit, much fruit. Well that sounds like my tomato plants right now. They have much fruit. While the translation is not clear as to quality or quantity, I choose to believe that good fruit is His goal. If we are to show Father's glory by our fruit, I don't see it as being small and dull.
I see several situations right now where it seems as if the pruning is too much and sometimes it even seems as if good things are cut off. I needed to be reminded that God's glory is to be reflected in the fruit. So when I feel as though I've lost a valuable part of me like confidence and it was lopped off, I may then realize that it was really pride. He must become greater and I must become less. Apart from Him, I can do nothing. (John 15:5)

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