Pruning the Dead Branches

At a plant sale many years ago, I bought a stick for $2.00. The little tag on it said that it was a redbud tree. I have always loved the bright color of the redbud trees each spring as they light up their area of the woods of Central Illinois. I was excited to find one that I could afford!

I planted the stick, but the summer was a blazing hot Illinois summer and I am not consistent in watering plants. I mostly allow God to water them. However, a friend took on that little stick and came consistently throughout the summer and gave it water. Years later it became not only my favorite tree, but a favorite for the birds who love the feeders positioned under it.

Every spring, the tree bursts with buds which herald the arrival of spring. However, this spring many of the branches had no life. Barren of buds and leaves, I feared the worst. For weeks, I felt the disappointment of the tree dying. I prayed and searched for ways to save it to no avail. 

Last week as I climbed the stairs to my deck, I thought the tree looked healthier. I was in a hurry, so I didn’t think much more about it. Later, I examined the tree more closely and I noticed that the dead limbs had been pruned by a friend who helps me with the yardwork. I was amazed at how healthy the tree looked! I was giddy with excitement that the tree looked like it might live – at least for now.

What an illustration of Jesus’ words in John 15:2, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” We are the branches! I want to be a living, blooming branch that draws attention, not to me, but to Jesus. When we are thriving, we see a healthy church bearing fruit. Too often these days, we see branches like those dead ones on my redbud tree, distracting us from the good. No wonder Jesus takes away the dead branches. They are worthless.

There are things in my life that are worthless and need to be pruned back in order that I might bear more fruit, that I might draw others to the beauty of God’s love. Let’s examine our lives and see where we need to be pruned in order to be healthy. Then we can draw others to Christ by shining His light in our area of the world.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

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About Lynnette Goebel

Lynnette is the Director of Operations at RHMA Headquarters in Morton, Illinois. She has attended the same small-town church for most of her life. She adores her pastor’s wife.