Pruning The Healthy

Michelle Clay
In John 15:2 Jesus says the following to his disciples, “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
Here Jesus is teaching his disciples about remaining connected to the Father by using
an example of branches on a vine. His disciples would have been familiar with the care of vines
and the need for regular pruning to keep them healthy and productive. For many this is a
familiar passage and one we have heard multiple times but when reading it recently something
new stood out to me that was really profound. I’ve always focused on the removal of the dead
branches but missed the next part that tells us that it’s also necessary to remove even healthy,
fruit producing branches as well.

I would guess most of you are like me in the fact that you don’t know a lot about growing grapes
or taking care of the plants to ensure the largest, healthiest crop. But maybe you do know about
tomato plants since they are a staple in gardens in our area. When I was little I spent a lot of
time with my grandparents on their farm. They always had a thriving garden. I would often help
them “sucker” the tomato plants. They taught me to look for new shoots of growth in the
intersection of two larger, already established branches, and simply pinch these new sprigs of
growth completely off. Suckering tomato plants is essentially the same point Jesus made here
to his disciples about pruning vines. Suckering and pruning ultimately results in fewer branches
leaving only the largest and strongest ensuring the plant remains strong and produces the
biggest yield of healthy fruit. This might seem counterproductive to the ultimate goal of growing
more fruit but by removing this “extra” growth the plant can pour all of its energy and resources
into the established branches which will result in bigger, healthier and a more abundant harvest.
Several things stand out to me from this verse and parable:

1. Timing matters - all plants must be pruned at the right time or you risk damaging
the plant or destroying it altogether. God knows the right season to prune us and
we can trust in his timing.

2.Pruning not only involves removing dead, non-producing branches, but it also includes
removing new healthy growth.
Those snippets of new tomato sprouts I removed were
healthy, green and growing. No doubt they would have led to more tomatoes. But
sometimes God needs to remove good, healthy things from my life too so that I can
focus on the main ways He wants to use my life to make Him known. I must recognize
that I can be spread so thin in life by doing “good things” that I become ineffective in ALL

God thank you for revealing new truths from well known scripture. Your word truly is alive and
active. Help me to remember this lesson because I can easily believe the lie the world so often
trumpets that I can do anything and everything I want and do it well. Help me to recognize
what you most desire for me to do and give me wisdom to know what things should be pruned from my life. Help me know what is mine to do and what isn't so that I can be the most effective for your kingdom agenda. 

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