Have you ever had the satisfaction of knowing God was using you to touch another person’s life?
Do you remember that day when you visited the sick friend and brought them soup to eat? How about that time that you sat with your friend and listened to the story of their life falling apart… you cried with them and hugged them.
Few things bring more joy than knowing that through us God’s love has touched and changed another person’s life. It’s only natural that with the changing seasons we experience pain when we leave behind a ministry that has given us joy.
In John 15:1-2, Jesus talks about changing seasons:
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 bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Just as the vine has its growing seasons, our lives and ministries have their seasons. One season of fruitfulness ends and another begins. To prepare to embrace the new, we must first let go of the old, and letting go can be hard.
In the life of the vine, this letting go is called pruning. It seems unjust for a branch that has produced luscious grapes to cut off six, eight, or even ten feet of this fruitful growth, leaving only a stub of a few inches.
What vinedresser would be so merciless? The answer is, any vinegrower who wants to make the branch as fruitful as possible.
As harsh as it may seem, pruning is not punishment; it is actually a tribute to the branch, not a punishment. Unfruitful branches don’t get pruned; they’re simply cut from the vine and burned. In choosing to prune a branch rather than discard it into the fire, the vinedresser is both recognizing its past fruitfulness and expressing faith in its future fruitfulness.
Now some may think the purpose of this pruning is to clean up the vine: cut away the weeds, thorns, disease, etc. The truth is that the vinedresser is cutting away the healthy wood of the branch. This is done, not because the branch is bad, but because in the coming season the long branch would sap away the energy needed for the future growth – the new growth that will yield more fruit.
In the Christian life, what is pruned is the long shoot of the previous years ministry. Though it was produced by the life of the vine itself, it is no longer needed for fruit-bearing, so the vinegrower relentlessly cuts it away.
We all go through seasons of change. Today, take the time to recognize how The LORD has blessed your ministries of the past with fruitful growth. Thank The LORD for His work, and then thank The LORD for pruning you – for expressing His confidence in your future growth and future fruit.
Embrace the change.
Excite the change.
Let’s change together.
Pastor Dan | Psalm 46
Inspired by, “Praying with the Anabaptists”