Meet the Vinedresser
Key Verse to Read and Treasure:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. (John 15:1, ESV)
The roles of the Godhead : Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct. We learn in the Bible that God the Father is the Creator of all living things. Nothing exists that he did not create. God the Son, Jesus, is the Savior of the world. The One who put on flesh, came down to earth and died on the Cross to redeem us from sin and the sentence of eternal death and damnation. God the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier. He lives not only among us but within us and in his care, we grow and mature in our faith, are transformed in our character and through his indwelling can remain in the vine, Jesus.
In John 15 Jesus tells us something else about God the Father. He calls him the “vinedresser,” or gardener. The one who prunes the branches that are in Christ. Vinedressers or gardeners have special task to accomplish with the grape vines. They have to know exactly what to do for the branches to make them yield the grapes as they are meant to.
We once leased a house that had a grape vine in the backyard. It stretched the entire length of the yard. We had the care of the home and keeping up of the lawn, but the owners of the home asked that they be the only ones to prune the grapevine. This was understood, since they knew best how the grapevine should be cared for.
At times I could hear the snip, snip of the clippers and could see our landlady out back with her shears in hand, carefully examining, then clipping the branches at strategic points. Sometimes removing bunches of ripened grapes, dropping them into her basket and tossing others into the compost. Because of her care and nurture of the grapevine the branches we strong and produced an abundance of large, sweet grapes. As the vinedresser she knew exactly what she was doing.
To some, unfamiliar with the process, pruning may seem counterproductive to growth but agriculturally pruning must take place for growth to happen.
The job of pruning may appear easy: just cut the branches off. But not just anyone can effectively or correctly prune a branch correctly. To keep it from being ruined the pruner or arborist needs to know how to do it and what needs to be done. They also must be able to identify what the problem or issue with that branch is and how it needs to be pruned or cut. The skilled gardener knows there are four approaches that can be taken in pruning:
- There is the complete “Removal Cut” where the branch is taken off completely to assure the health of the vine or tree.
- There is a “Reduction Cut.” When a branch is shortened by removing a stem back to lateral breach that’s large enough to resist extensive decay and dysfunction.
- There is a “Heading Cut” that isn’t an appropriate action all the time only in certain instances. Sometimes necessary when all attempts to restore the vine have been applied. Such as when a storm has damaged it.
- And there’s the “Removal” of dead branches. When nothing is being produced and the health of the vine is in danger of being compromised. The best thing to do is cut it off completely. Better to lose one branch than the entire vine.
Spiritually speaking this is what God does to the branch on the true vine, Jesus.
When Jesus lived on earth he taught, preached, healed, and fed us, but he did not return to heaven before accomplishing his greatest mission which was to die on the cross for our salvation. Even now he sits at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us. The Father has sent the Spirit to transform and sanctify us so we might produce fruit while living in the true vine, but God is the one who watches us to see what kind of pruning we need to undergo.
As long as we are producing some fruit, even if it’s sparce, the vinedresser will not cut us off completely, instead he will allow situations to occur where we go through a struggle or face challenges so we can begin bearing the fruit he knows we can and should bear. The vinedresser knows we don’t bear fruit in ease only in suffering and pain. The more we suffer, the more fruit we bear. As the writer of Hebrews says,
No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. (Read Hebrews 12:11)
The vinedresser won’t allow so much suffering that causes us to die on the vine, but just enough that the end result will be that incredible, amazing, beautiful sweet fruit we have potential to bear as we abide on the True Vine.
Father, you know exactly what to do to cause us to bear fruit. No suffering is pleasant but just knowing that the end result will be bearing fruit we can rejoice and trust you to know how much to allow into our life. Amen
Is the Vinedresser pruning you? How does knowing he knows exactly how much suffering and challenges to allow you to experience bring you peace, hope and joy?
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