May 7, 2021

Suggested Reading: John 15:1-11

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.—John 15:1-2

How does a person who is hate-filled become loving; an angry person release their rage; a hot-tempered person become calm and measured; a stingy person become generous and giving; a me-focused and self-centered person become other-oriented and inclusive; an unforgiving or judgmental person become quick to forgive and charitable? If you have had any history or relationship with those who struggle in this way, then you might be inclined to respond “they don’t!” “They are who and what they are!” “I’ve just learned to accept them as they are; accept they will never change.”

People do not always give us reason to hope they will ever change. Especially if it seems they are in denial of their ways and attitudes or feel there is no reason to change.  

Jesus makes a powerful statement here. He calls himself the true vine and God the Father as the “vinedresser.” In ancient times and even now the job of the vinedresser whom we might better identify as an agriculturist, was to daily prune and cultivate the grapevines. This activity was an important component of the production of wine and other grape-derived products. An important step and activity that cannot be avoided if you wanted the best tasting, sweetest, smoothest wine. Necessary for producing wine and grape products that looked, smelled, and tasted to perfection.

When I have a question about growing something in my garden, I will send a quick text to one of my granddaughters who has a green thumb. Professionally, she is a Labor and Delivery nurse but she can make something beautiful bloom in cement  if she had to. In her care everything thrives and flourishes.

When the vinedresser starts to walk the rows of grapes and begins the pruning process they know exactly what they are doing and what they are looking for. They have the correct tools and can tell just by looking which branches need to be clipped back. If you have never been up close to a grapevine you might not know they are hard to deal with. They have thorns just like roses and have to be carefully removed or they will prick you something terrible.

Can you see this analogy in dealing with people who need to be pruned? Those who may have some severe issues? How they are like those grape vines? They will prick and if you don’t know how to handle them correctly. If you don’t have the proper skills you will get stuck and bleed a lot. That is why the process of pruning humans is not human work, only God the Vinedresser; the one who created the grapes (human fruit) to begin with.

Serious issues or not, we will all undergo the vinedressers pruning. None of us think we need pruning, but the vinedresser/Author and Creator of Life knows us best and he does not hesitate to take his pruning shears to us as needed. Even if we are good, he will cut away just enough to make us beautiful and if we are horrible he will cut a lot to make us glorious!

A grapevine is meant to produce grapes just as the children of God are meant to reflect him and produce spiritual fruit because they are made in his image. As the saying goes “God loves us just as we are, but he loves us too much to leave us as we are. He is our skilled vinedresser. He knows exactly what he is doing so we do not have to fear when we sense him at work. He will never cut us back to harm or damage us, only to make sure we are stronger, producing the best, sweetest fruit we are capable of as long as we are part of Jesus’ vine. Let’s Pray,

Our Father how beautiful you are! We are so blessed to have you as our vinedresser! In your care we are never harmed only made more beautiful, more sweet, productive, and appealing. Grant that we are always a reflection of you because we are not only made in your image but full of your Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Courageous Living: knowing God the Father is the vinedresser in charge of pruning his beautiful children how does that encourage you to submit to his pruning in your life?

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