Take Away Half

My pruning knowledge continues to increase. Now that I have two plums and a new peach tree, I need to learn expert pruning techniques. I love reading about the art of pruning because it reminds me so much of John 15:1-8. If you haven’t read this passage in a while, it goes like this:

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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in meI am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Today I read that successful pruning involving removing half of the new growth in the first two seasons. Half! Doesn’t that seem extreme to you? Doesn’t that seem unusual and so diminishing? Well, when I tried this with my plumcot tree, I couldn’t believe the next season’s growth. I stood there, clippers in hand, as piles and piles of precious branches and leaves fell around me. It looked like I had stripped the tree bare. But that’s what it needed. I always forget that pruning means the tree becomes healthier and even more fruitful. It’s reduction for production (Another family motto? I like it!)

If there’s a loss, a removal, a rejection, a delay, a diminishment—anything that feels like we’ve been cut down—I remember it’s God’s loving pruning. Next year we’ll all grow even more with more fruit than we can imagine. Reduction for production.

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