The Great Gardener

Written by: Christianne Williams

John 15:1-8 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

I have decided that this year, I’m going to be a gardener. I went to the store, I bought many different kind of seeds, a garden hose because my last attempt at gardening ended dismally with plants that died of heatstroke, and a few other things that will give my venture a fighting chance. So far, in my 38 years, the only thing I’ve managed to keep alive are children, which is a win in my books, so I guess I understand why my mother laughed uncontrollably when she heard that her daughter was going to grow vegetable, from scratch.

As a trial run, I purchased some ready-for-the-ground flowers, and this seemed like the perfect day to put them in. My daughter and I got out our tiny spade, a little claw like thingy (not entirely sure what the actual name is), and headed out to make the front yard beautiful. We loosened the soil, took out the weeds, and dug holes, my daughter using her hands until she met with a worm. It was fun to work together and then step back to see what a difference our efforts had made.

I’m positive that the work in the backyard won’t be nearly as immediately gratifying. There will be need for bigger garden tools, more planting, more weeding, more watering, more row marking, and a much longer waiting period for results. I’m prepared for the harvest but I know it won’t happen until later in the summer and, for some things, early fall. It will be a lot of work, time consuming, and perhaps disheartening if some things don’t grow as I’d hoped, but in the end, it will be worth it.

The same can be said for our Christian walk, it has a lot of similarities to gardening. Seasons of planting, weeding, pruning, and harvest. Times when we see beautiful growth almost immediately and times when it seems the fruit are a long time coming. Days when we feel the discomfort of pruning and weeding. I know, I’ve been there, many times. In order to have growth, we must submit to the hands of the gardener. He knows just what to do to yield a beautiful harvest, in His perfect time. He knows when it’s time to cut back a branch or two, to pull up some shallow weeds or perhaps some deeply rooted ones that are choking out the long awaited new growth. He skillfully and lovingly tends to His garden, ensuring its beauty in the right season.

Sometimes we get side tracked by what’s coming up in someone else’s garden when in fact, they have an early summer harvest but what God’s producing in ours is a late fall crop. Only He knows what our lives are perfect soil for and He will cultivate good things in proper season! He wants us to bear much fruit, that’s His desire for us, so we must remain close to Him. Time spent with Holy Spirit and reading His Word will draw us in and out of the different seasons of growth and help us to flourish in the process.