A Time of Pruning Part One: Establish a Base

 I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes.
John 15:1 MSG
I have treasured the words of John 15 for as long as I can remember and I really appreciate the way in which

The Message presents it. I imagine I identify with this scripture mostly because of my love of gardening and of
all growing things. Whether they be wildflowers or highly developed hybrids, a forest of towering trees


underscored by decorative bloomers, vegetables of every type and color, it matters not. I love them all and

during the long cold winter, I live for the day when tiny sprouts show their heads and I can play in the dirt on my
hands and knees. I never bother myself with fancy manicures and I wear only a plain wedding band because
when I go out my door, there is a great likelihood that I will find myself yanking out weeds or pulling debris out
of my landscape beds. I can’t help it. Instinct kicks in and I’m quickly buried in dirt and refuse.

Every gardener knows that plants require a good base in order to flourish. It’s vital to the health of your
landscape or garden that you become intimately acquainted with the specific needs of the plants you choose.
A little homework before you shop can go a long way toward making your life a lot easier. Smartphones allow
us the luxury of last-minute researching at the garden center but for a big project, advance planning is best.
You need to know how much light is needed as well as watering requirements. The type of soil required by
your plant is very important and we all know that the Ozarks can’t boast the best of soils, but amendments can
be added to achieve the desired result if you don’t mind hard work and some expense. Soil and water kind of
go hand in hand. Cacti and succulents need little water because they retain it in their bodies so sandy soil is
best for them. Most hybrids are a little fussier and will want well-drained but well-composted soil. Aquatic
species can be planted directly in a water garden. Native species, those that grow naturally in a given area
usually tolerate poorer soils and less water than hybridized varieties. Just remember different plants have
different requirements in order to be fruitful.
What does all this have to do with our scripture? It’s simple. Our relationship with God requires a healthy
amount of homework too. We need to read His word and talk to Him regularly. You may be a visual learner
who needs lots of life pictures and group experience may be your best choice or you may be a serious
reader who prefers to study alone. However you do it, get yourself into the Word. Establish your base in Him.
John calls to me in this scripture because of my love of God’s green growing creations and I believe he was
trying to tell me that I need to make whatever effort is necessary to stay close to my heavenly father. When our
relationship suffers, it is not God who creates the distance. I am the one who has wandered away, tempted by
something that is not healthy for me. Sometimes He provides lots of rope and I find myself knee-deep in the
muck of life. But sometimes He provides clues along the way that can prevent my descent into whatever mess
lies lurking before me. Whatever the case, at some point I feel the pain of that pruning saw and I know I have
to find my way back.
And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more.
John 15:2 MSG
The question is, how do I bear fruit once more. My garden helps me find those answers because it is there that
I find plenty of time to talk to Him, to think, and to recover my sense of balance. God listens when I am tending
His creations and He knows my heart is getting back its focus.
I don’t know about the messes in your life but I’ve gotten myself into some nasty ones. The beautiful truth is
that it doesn’t matter what I’ve done. He will forgive me and give me another fresh start. He’ll do that for you
too. It just requires a contrite heart and some honest conversation.
You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken. John 15:3
God is the best listener. You don’t have to shout nor cry out loud because He hears
even the very silent prayer of a sincere heart. Anonymous

One Response to “A Time of Pruning Part One: Establish a Base”

  1. Joan Ernsberger says:

    Marcy, I really enjoy your timely articles. Thank you for the time you take to research and encourage me in my walk.

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