As a kid growing up on what I thought was just a “boring old raspberry farm”, the thought of living someplace with palm trees and citrus in the garden would have been unthinkably exotic. And to now live where we enjoy pomegranate, orange, lime and lemon trees in our backyard still sometimes seems an unreal childhood fantasy. But here we are, and loving it.
That also means I’m learning how to care for this wonderful variety of plantings. And because I’m still enamored by the novelty of it all, I hate to prune back these trees any more than necessary. Yet I know that pruning is necessary and helpful for the trees and their fruit.
Jesus said he is the Vine, and we are the branches. He said,
“My Father is the gardener…and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more” (John 15:1-2).
That’s you and me – that if we bear fruit we can expect to experience some cutting away, some pruning of branches in our lives. It might be painful at times, but it is so we will bear more fruit.
As I clipped away at the lemon tree in our yard recently I remembered the sensory bonus of lemon tree pruning: as one snips the branches, the fragrance of fresh lemon is released at every cut. It certainly makes the task more pleasant to enjoy that aroma.
As I considered the pruning work that God sometimes needs to do in my life I wondered what kind of aroma comes from my life in the cutting process? Is it the rich sense of humble gratitude, or the stink of complaining? I suppose we could ask the same questions as God may even do some pruning in the life of our church…what fragrance do we exude in the midst of pruning?
Second Corinthians 2:14-15 says,
“Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.”
I want my life to be that Christ-like fragrance, even when life is hard, even when being pruned.
How about you? Are you experiencing a pruning in your life? What fragrance are you sending out?
Brian Wiebe-Lead Pastor