Written by Marilyn Cebula
I love my garden! It’s there in that peaceful place, no matter what is pressing in on me, that I can feel as though all is well in the world.
It’s also a rare time that I don’t I hear the promptings of God, the Master Gardener – like after a rain, the weeds are much easier to pull and the message is – be careful not to let the soil of your heart become hardened by bitterness and unforgiveness but confess it and get rid of it quickly. Or when I’ve been away for several days and the weeds have started to take over, I clean out the obvious ones with my hoe but then when I crouch down closer to the ground, I see the small ones that are growing closer to my flowers. The lesson for me is – stay close to the ground, stay humble and don’t ignore the small things that can become a problem if they’re not dealt with.
While I have often found myself “congratulating” my flowers on how lovely they look and smell, the truth is that, left to themselves or unprotected, they would not become as beautiful as they could be. My mind goes to the pattern of the Master Gardener. However, unlike the plants in my garden, we can choose whether we will submit to his dealings in our lives.
Jesus spoke of his Father as the “gardener” in John 15:1 when he said “I am the true grapevine, and the Father is the gardener.” (NLT) Then, he continues with the analogy.
The Work of the Master Gardener
v. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”
Like the plant, that cutting and pruning can be unpleasant. It may even take awhile to recover from it but don’t be afraid to submit to the Master Gardener’s pruning. He will only remove the parts that are hindering us and weighing us down. Then, our lives will flourish and bring him glory.
The Method of the Master Gardener
v. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”
The vine that has been severed from the main plant is a pitiful sight. It begins to die immediately and withers away. It’s useless. We are told to remain in him and he will remain in us. How do we remain in him? This “remaining” is not just the opposite of “leaving”. It will require us to be diligently reading and studying his Word, communing with him throughout our days and consistently saying “yes” to his workings in our lives.
The Promise and the Caution of the Master Gardener
v. 5 Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
Trying to produce spiritual fruit on our own – apart from him – is exhausting, frustrating and unfulfilling. But, when we submit to the plan and involvement of the Master Gardener, we get to participate and he promised to be responsible for the results.
Remain in the vine and you’ll be amazed by what God, the Master Gardener, will grow and produce through your life.