Pruning Produces… Produce by Rick Van Ravenswaay
Genesis 49:22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.”
Many people are familiar with the description that Jesus gives of himself in the Gospel of John Chapter 15. He declares that he is the vine and Father God is the gardener. Every branch that does not bear fruit is pruned so that the remaining branches produce more fruit. In our outcome-based world, we tend to like the things that will bring a greater yield and a bigger harvest, right?
I find it interesting that one of the earliest Bible references to a person being a vine is about Joseph. In Genesis 49:22 Jacob (aka Israel) is blessing all his sons prior to his own death. Dad is going down the list of sons and when he gets to Joseph, his favorite who was sold off by the older brothers to be a slave in Egypt, he paints a beautiful word picture about Joseph.
Described as a fruit-bearing vine whose roots run deep, whose branches have overcome and reached beyond the obstacles of life. What a blessing to hear a father say this about his son. When we tie that Old Testament blessing with the New Testament words of Jesus, we are reminded of a few things about the life of Joseph – in a nutshell, it was very difficult.
Likewise, the life of Jesus – the lasting vine — was difficult and with that difficulty came a beautiful outcome. The love of God was made real to humanity. The gift of salvation was made possible in the sacrifice. True joy was carried in that painful experience. Lives were saved, people blessed, and God glorified.
In John 15:5 we are invited by Jesus into the vine – to be branches who receive life and bear fruit for the Kingdom of God. As branches, the celebrations of the vine are shared with us. Likewise, the pain experienced by the vine is shared as well.
Those in Christ long to hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt 25:23). It is one of the great anticipations of our faith. With that, we can remember that the pruning that happens can lead us to a better place. Physical loss can open us to healthier relationships. Personal loss can drive our roots deeper to that spring of life.
As a community of faith, may our legacy be always connected, sustained and fruitful for Christ.