Life Lessons from Yard Work

Ever have one of those days when it seems you can find a biblical lesson in nearly every occurrence? Well, I had one of those days. From the cleaning out of a freezer-full of rotten fish (yes…rotten fish…left there by my brother-in-law before they moved. And it smelled worse than you could ever imagine), to the sad story I heard of a man I know watching his wife head down the road of Eve while he does his best Adam impersonation (read Genesis 2 and 3). But I’m not blogging about those. I’m writing about pruning.

Yes. Pruning.
I helped my father-in-law cut back most of the shrubs/bushes/out-of-control growth in his yard and mine today. While I was skillfully wielding the power trimmer, I thought about Jesus’ words in John 15:1-2:

“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.”

Pruning is not fun. For the vine/bush/shrub or for the vine dresser. It’s hard work, and it seems like you’re doing more harm than good. You take a full, green, lush plant and reduce it to a stubby collection of twigs. Something that looked healthy is left to look beat to shreds. You’re left with tired arms and shoulders, a sore back, and a pile of junk on the ground that has to be burned or shredded.

But wait. Give it time. See what happens.

New life! Fresh growth! And healthier, at that! It’s amazing, really. You chop it away until you think it can’t possible regrow, and yet, it does!

And it’s the same with me. I learned this week that pruning can be painful. But when the dust settles and the shears are returned to the barn, and the wounds heal, new life begins. You think you have to hold onto that branch. You think it’s vital. You think you’ll die if it’s removed.

But you won’t. You’ll hurt, but all you’ll lose is stuff that’s destined to burn, anyway. You’ll be left feeling naked and a shell of your former self. But new life is lurking.

So don’t be afraid of the shears. Let the vinedresser clip off the seemingly healthy branches to reveal what’s trapped inside. He knows what he’s doing! Don’t be afraid. Yeah, it hurts like crazy, but the result is so worth it!

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