Used with Permission by, Linda DeSilva
I have a favourite coffee mug with the slogan ‘The Royal Gardener’. It was made for Hampton Court Palace and presumably was sold to raise funds. The mug is decorated with various gardening implements against a background of green foliage. I guess there is nothing remarkable about it, except that it set me thinking about another gardener – not merely ‘Royal’ but ‘Divine’!
In John chapter fifteen, Jesus refers to Himself as the true vine, to us as the branches, and God the Father as the vine-dresser – ‘The Divine Gardener’. Like every good gardener, God takes away every unproductive branch and prunes the productive ones so that they bear more fruit. The human side of us balks at the idea of being subjected to pruning, but, as every Christian who has been through the pruning process with various kinds of trials will testify, although it was not pleasant “nevertheless afterwards it yielded the peaceable fruit of righteousness,” when we submitted to God’s training. (See Hebrews 12:11 NKJV.)
March marks the beginning of Spring and we enjoy the results of the autumn pruning in the garden as our eyes now revel in the lovely flowers and foliage, while those areas that were neglected and are now overgrown detract from the beauty all around. They are a parable of those who would not submit to God’s discipline and, having failed to profit by it, hinder the unity and growth of the body of believers – God’s garden – the Church. (See John 15: 5 – 8.)
As we submit willingly and wholeheartedly – mind, body, soul and spirit – to the skillful hands of our ‘Divine Gardener’, we shall understand more fully what the Lord Jesus Christ endured for us.
The Divine Gardener’ lovingly ‘prunes’ us so that we may grow strong, healthy branches bearing abundant fruit for His glory and the increase of His ‘vineyard’.
(See John 15:8)