Ahhh, the fragrance of fresh raspberries!
But, what a mess the raspberry vines are in at the end of the harvesting season. They have been shaken and shaken and picked and driven through with the harvester over and over again. By the end they look wild and unkempt. No more berries. No perfectly groomed vines. Not even any activity in the rows. How often is this a picture of our lives? We have been harvested and picked and left undone. We need renewing. Not as a result of sin or disobedience, but as a result of being faithful to our calling and producing fruit as the Spirit has worked in us. As a result of the harvesting, the time for pruning has come. It is a time for rejoicing in the work and careful husbandry of our heavenly Father.
How does this happen? It starts with one simple word: pruning. With care and wisdom, the old wood is pruned back – cut off and discarded. That which produced prolifically this year is taken out and used for other purposes. Why? So that the new growth will have the nutrients it needs to produce next year. And then all this new growth is tied neatly together to rest and be prepared to winter the coming months, so it can be ready for next year’s harvest.
It is an ongoing cycle, that will be repeated many times in the life of each plant, of each field, of each farmer.
Yes, I live in Lynden. Yes, we are surrounded by raspberry fields (and fewer and fewer dairy farms). I love raspberries and I have enjoyed the many lessons that have been illustrated well as the seasons proceed around me. Faith, growth, pruning, patience, dependence on the vine. Jesus had much to say about these things.
Seasons. Pruning. Resting. Support. Preparation. Abundant harvest that enriches life and blesses many. What is the result of God’s husbandry in our lives? The cultivation of love. Love for Him. Love for His work in our lives. Love for one another. Love of His life in us. If we claim His Name, our lives are to marked by love.
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 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.
“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. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:1-17 NLT
How do you view the pruning Jesus tells us to expect as we walk in faith and continually learn what it means to surrender our lives to Him?