You can always tell a true farmer over a hobbyist. The farmer will be out tending his crops no matter what the weather is like, how his own body feels, or in the dead of night if need be. My neighbour Harvey was a real farmer. One of the crops he grew was concord grapes. I watched as he went out every morning tending his vines. His vines were healthy, full and produced abundant fruit- which he was sure to share with us.
One morning after a huge downpour, when
was very old, he went out to his field to tend his vines. He got stuck in the mud and didn’t have the strength to get out for hours as no one had seen him in trouble. The next morning he was back out in the field again. A true farmer, he was committed to his land and the crops. What always surprised me though was the harshness of his pruning every year; to me it seemed he cut off far too much and the vines would not be able to produce, but every year I was proven wrong. Little did I know the truth about grapes. Jesus knew. He spoke about it. Harvey
I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Gardener. He lops off every branch that doesn’t produce. And he prunes those branches that bear fruit for even larger crops. He has already tended you by pruning you back for greater strength and usefulness by means of the commands I gave you. Take care to live in me, and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me. Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches… (John 15:1-5 TLB)
Those branches that don’t produce are cut off and left to wither and burned with the fire. That makes sense to most of us and we are okay with that. But look at the next part. And he prunes those branches that bear fruit for even larger crops… you are the branches. Ouch! The Gardener prunes us for greater strength and fruitfulness. And it’s no gentle pruning either. This is what information I found about the subject:
Most home gardeners do not prune their grapes hard enough. Pruned grape vines will "bleed". This causes concerns to home gardeners but it is a good sign and the "bleeding" will stop.
…Grape vines must be pruned hard every year.
So to produce abundant fruit and be useful, the Father has to prune us hard every year. Hmmm… could that be the reason for some of our trials? The Bible does indicate that trials and suffering improve our character. (
5:3-4) I can’t really guarantee how God will prune us, only that He will. Do I enjoy ‘being pruned’? Not really, but I’ve gotten used to it and I know He will help me through to the other side. Rom.
As branches, we can only live while attached to the Vine, for it is through the Vine that we receive nourishment and all the other necessities for growth. If we cut ourselves off from the Vine, we will wither, never be able to produce fruit, and will die; not a great choice to make. But if we continue to live in Him, and He in us, we will flourish and produce wonderful abundant fruit.
Thank You Lord for being our Vine!