Saturday, March 3, 2012

40 Days of Virtue: The Gardener

"She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard."
Proverbs 31:16
If you have ever tried to plant something and make it grow, you know it is no small task. To some it just comes natural, this oneness with nature. To others: well, it just doesn't work! Life is fragile. It requires nurturing. Watering. Tender loving care. In other words: time and attention.

It's one thing to put a few seeds in a peat pot, keep it in a warm place until it sprouts, and care for it until it's brave enough to stretch it's fragile roots into the endless soil of the great outdoors. It is quite another thing to have the faith to "Inspect a field." "Buy it." "Plant a vineyard."

This woman knows her stuff. She is a businesswoman. In a man's world, she steps up to the plate and shows what she is made of. She takes risks, plans ahead, invests in the future. She walks in faith and is fruitful because she trusts The Gardener.  In John 15:1-4 Jesus speaks these words,
“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."
Can you imagine the lessons this woman learned as overseer of the vineyard? The decisions. The risks.  The dependency on nature. The responsibility toward her workers. The gut wrenching prayer that rocked her to the very core as she undertook the gruelling task of knowing when and how to trim back those beautifully thriving vines until they looked like dry stubble. All of this in hopes of producing the best fruit.

And all the while, God was producing the true fruit of her labor. Forever fruit. What Jesus refers to as the "fruit that will last"...
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other." John 15:16-17NI
Perhaps you find yourself in a place where you must make life-changing decisions. Maybe you are in a position of authority, responsible for the lives and labor of others. Maybe you just feel as though your life is not going anywhere. You feel worthless and hopeless; fruitless and out of touch. Jesus beckons us to trust the Gardener:
   He "inspects the field" of our hearts. Because that's what a True Gardener does.
   He "bought us" with His blood. Not because of our goodness, but because of our desperate need.
   He desires to "plant a vineyard" within the depth of our souls. Not because we deserve it, but because He loves us.
   He promises to trim away the dead and gnarly branches of our past. Because He longs for us to live a fruitful life.
   He produces His fruit in us...His very nature growing from within. Because He is preparing us for His Kingdom.

Life is fragile. It requires nurturing. Watering. TLC. Will you choose to trust the One who "chose you and appointed you"? He is asking you to ask.

Psalm 128
How joyful are those who fear the LORD—
all who follow his ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine,
flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees
as they sit around your table.
That is the LORD’s blessing for those who fear him.

May the LORD continually bless you from Zion.
May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live.
May you live to enjoy your grandchildren.
May Israel have peace!



4 comments:

  1. This is my favorite scripture. It always helps me keep my spiritual walk in perspective. I have learned to look forward to pruning so the fruit can be abundant even though it may be painful at times. Loving your blog Cindy!

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  2. Once agian, such a beautiful lesson. It was just what my heart needed to hear today. God is working in my life and home and I feel him working in the lives of all those around me. Praise God for all his love.

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    1. So 'wow'ed by this lesson as well. I had no idea what I could write on this passage, but He totally took over. Giving Him glory!

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