I love June because it means blueberries are in season. Nearly every year since our children were young, we’ve hunted up a local farm to u-pick blueberries. In Florida, it gets hot and buggy so we always start the morning early. Family rule is everyone has to pick a bucket to earn a ride home! Thankfully, only buckets — not people — are weighed so we get to taste which trees have the best fruit.
This year we went to the farm managed by someone in our church. She and her husband are new at blueberry farming and began managing the blueberries a few years ago. We chatted about the year’s production as we weighed our berries and I wrote a check. We talked about last year’s crop and the year’s before.
She said their best blueberry season was about three years ago. She and her husband had pruned the trees way back. The next year wasn’t a great year. The trees had great new growth after the pruning but the growth had not yet produced berries. But the following year, that new growth budded and blossomed into a banner harvest. As she relayed their experience, I thought of John 15:
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.
Even branches that bear fruit get pruned. Why, because the farmer doesn’t like the fruit? Or he’s just out to make it difficult for the plants? No. A seasoned farmer knows that pruning plants is THE WAY to produce more fruit.
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As this friend explained, fertilizer is necessary. There also needs to be rain, but not too much and the weather must cooperate as well — a couple months just cold enough but not too cold to kill the blooms. But only pruning will really get the bush to produce an abundant crop.
Jesus tells us that same principle applies to us. I’m not really crazy about the pruning. I like the fruit just fine, but the pruning, well, I actually pray against that. Lord, please let my finances work out. Please get a renter for that house. Please make this hard thing go away.
But, our loving Vinedresser, God the Father, prunes in love. He prunes every branch that is already bearing fruit. A perfect Vinedresser, He prunes with perfection, never to damage but to make us bud and blossom with abundant fruit.
And here’s the kicker. It’s not a one time deal. Just as the farmer will prune his trees again and again over the life of the plant to encourage regular, abundant fruit, we should expect pruning delivered and allowed by the Sovereign hand of our Vinedresser,
By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.