Lessons From the Farm: Pruning
Written by Becky Rosaler on February 10, 2015 in General
Farming is a discipline of rhythms. Being attentive to the seasons tells us when to sow seeds, grow crops, harvest produce, and allow land to sit fallow. Weather patterns spur or deter growth. The rhythms of the land demand attention.
The start of a new year presents an opportunity for those of us not as closely tied to the soil. We are invited to embrace a 12-month cycle of celebrating annual accomplishments and pressing refresh on life priorities and goals for improvement. In California, the start of the new year is also the time to pull out our pruning shears and tackle the intertwined branches of thorn-laden rose bushes.
As I cut back growth on my own roses, I was reminded of walking through Leoncio’s agroforestry plot in the Dominican Republic. A trained farmer, Leoncio understood how to maximize production from his plants and yield the literal fruits of his labor. As we walked, he pinched off buds from his young citrus trees, allowing the tree to put its energy into growing branches, roots, and leaves—efforts that will establish future fruit production.
This activity brings to mind the words Jesus spoke in John 15:
“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.”
The annual rhythm of pruning has become a time of reflection, a time to ask the Lord what branches in my life need to be cut back. As painful as pruning seems, it’s what makes the vine stronger. It gives us hope that God will bring forth fruit even more abundantly.