A couple of weeks ago on Labor Day, I decided to do some yard work. If you know me at all, you know that I HATE YARDWORK. I was talking with a friend about the cost of astroturf and if I could get my wifey to let me do it. There’s is nothing about yard work that I like…except the result it brings.
I have 10 crape myrtles that line my backyard. We’ve been in this house now 2 years and I have yet to trim them. As you can guess, they started to grow leaves near the bottom. Someone told me that they were supposed to be like a canopy. Mine were like giant shrubs. There were leaves all over the place, literally from the bottom all the way up. As I was trimming, I started to notice the places where someone before me trimmed them back. The growth from that spot was really nice. The new growth was strong and yielded a nice bloom. I could see all over the trees that they had been cared for in the past. That motivated me. I wanted this now ugly tree to once again be beautiful and add some really nice shade to my yard.
After some time, I started thinking about the passage in John 15. Jesus says, “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.” Some of the twigs and branches near the bottom were not producing the bloom, but instead made the tree an eyesore. The twigs seemed to take away nutrients from the places that could bloom. So cutting them off would help the health of the overall tree.
As I reflect on this passage of scripture, I look into my own life to seek out the things that need to be cut out. There are ares of my life that does not bear the kind of fruit for holiness. Those must be eliminated by the power of the Holy Spirit in me. This is the constant struggle in the pursuit of holiness. I will never arrive until glorification, but I will run. My daily reminder is the two rows of beautiful crape myrtles in my backyard.
In terms of practicality, pruning away things that do not bear fruit makes you more efficient and productive. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, examine areas of your work place, ministry, and personal life. Where can you prune so that you can bear more fruit?