Written by Mr Tyson Kenny - Deputy Principal
John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, from apart me you can do nothing.
I am a bit of a ‘wannabe gardener’, who will a few times a year venture outside at my home to spend a solid few hours doing my best to improve the health and look of a dozen or so plants that are in my backyard. One of these ventures took place the other week, which I was reminded of when reflecting on this week’s bible verse.
One weekend every August, I rollup my sleeves and dust off my trusty (and part rusty) secateurs, and I complete the annual pruning of four small trees just outside a pergola area at my house. I can’t tell you what types of trees they are – like I said, I’m a wannabe gardener – however all I know is the more savage I prune these trees, the better they grow back the following year.
This yearly task causes great stress for my wife, as she often questions whether the trees need to be pruned so severely. One year I remember not being so harsh, and interestingly, for the next 12 months, the tree did not grow as many new stems nor flowers. However, last year, I was particularly forthright with my pruning efforts, which resulted in these trees growing as strong as ever, with as many flowers as I can remember blooming throughout the year.
So, you might ask what relevance this all has to this week’s bible verse.
Jesus explains that branches that do not bear fruit should be taken away, and the branches that bear fruit, should be pruned to bear more fruit. To bear fruit simply means to grow in character — to become more like Christ and reflect the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23).
This week’s verse also highlights the importance of abiding in Christ. Beginning in John 13, Jesus gives a series of farewell addresses that continue until chapter 17. He knows that he will soon be lifeless on a tree — the crucified King. Then, in the middle of it all, he graciously reminds us that to be his means to bear fruit and we bear fruit by abiding in him.
Abiding in Christ allows each of us to face the challenges of life with greater strength. This can mean being able to bounce back even stronger, perhaps after we’ve been cut (or pruned) to grow with renewed strength of character, which is more firmly rooted in Christ, as well as Christ in us.
Remember, as the bible verse says, ‘whoever abides in me and I in him’, means that our relationship with Christ is a two-way street. Though some may struggle at times to have a strong relationship with Christ, never forget, he is forever present and willing to have a relationship with us.
Yours in Christ.