Master Gardener: Someone who has been trained in the science and art of gardening with the intent of educating and advising others
A Master Gardener I am not. I never had, nor intend to have, a garden. Those who know me know I don’t even like getting plants or flowers. I appreciate the gesture, and my first thought is always “Oh- isn’t that nice and thoughtful?” followed next by “Great- one more thing I have to keep alive”.
It may sound ridiculous, but it’s true. I do not have the time or the desire to change the water, pull out the dead leaves, and nurture a plant. I often give my flowers away as I know they will last longer in someone else’s care.
One of the final analogies Jesus gives his disciples is of Jesus being the true vine, and his disciples as the branches. It says in John 15:3-4 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
I have heard many sermons on these verses, and I am sure you have as well. Sometimes when you hear a message over and over, it loses impact, rather than solidifying it. I feel that way about these scriptures.
How many times have I heard the focus of these verses and the ones following it in the context that God will “cut away” all of the sin and hindrances in our lives so we can be of use to Him? How many times have I heard how painful and difficult the pruning process is? How many times have I heard that God will have to take some things away in order for us to be effective in doing his work?
How many times? Enough to make me want to avoid be pruned! Why would I want to subject myself to pain and torment? Why would I want to spend time faced with all the reasons I am not yet qualified to do His work and be of service? No thanks. Not today.
Instead, I will try to clean myself up. Once I have pruned myself I will go to God. Once I have cut off my bad habits and grown some new Christlike leaves I will draw nearer to God. Kind of like losing ten pounds before I join the gym…
Ah, but as I mentioned before, I am no gardener. I cannot keep a cactus alive, let alone prune myself. I find myself in a dilemma.
Unless, I let go of the sermons I have heard before and meditate on these verses myself. For when I do, I see things differently. First of all, I see that Jesus says we have already been pruned by the message He has given us. What is the message that prunes us? It is Himself. It is his Word. It says in John 1 that the Word became flesh.
When we accept Jesus and his word, we are pruned. The greek word that they have translated to read prune is also translated to the word clean in some translations. We are washed by the blood. We are pruned by accepting and receiving his Word.
Yes, this is a continual process. As we abide in Him, as we spend time in His word, we undergo a continual cleansing and pruning process. The things that were once of great importance to us often fall away as we experience life with the Lord. The Word speaks to our hearts and brings us to a place of surrender and a willful letting go of all that would hinder our race.
It is not always easy, but it is not as painful as many sermons would say. When we surrender something, as difficult as it is, the difficulty is overshadowed by the joy we have in knowing that the end result of letting go is the feeling of a fresh beginning. A new bud of hope. A flower about to open and say “Look at what Jesus has done with my life!”
I have watched people prune their plants and tend to their gardens. They do not rip off the dead leaves. They tenderly pick them off and rearrange the branches to show off the most beautiful ones. Then they stand back and smile at their treasure.
We have a Master Gardener that loves us deeply and fiercely. He wants nothing more than to take away the dead areas of our lives and show off our most beautiful parts. However, He is patient. He will wait until we are ready. And when we are, any discomfort we experience will be overshadowed by his love and tender handling of all of our branches.
I encourage you to draw near to our Master Gardener. Do not be afraid of the pruning process. It is truly one of the sweetest experiences you will have with our loving Father.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your fierce love. Thank you for loving me enough to want to take away all that is dead in my life. Thank you for being patient with me. Help me surrender to your will so I am no longer hindered in running my race. Thank you for your tenderness and compassion. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Love, Grace, and Pruned Life For Us All,