Today’s blog is inspired by John Ingrey, Dave Wigston and Linda Wigston. They have been hard at work on the trees at the front of our Church “lawn”, tidying them up and making the church more visible to passing traffic, both on foot and in cars. Here’s a before and after picture of some of them…
What a difference! And what a difference it makes to the frontage of our property too, reminding people once again that we are still here, alive and well.
It would have been very easy to just leave the trees to do their own thing and get thicker, and untidier – and that got me thinking about our own lives, how if we leave things for too long they can start to get in the way, and stop us from seeing God, and stop us allowing God to be seen and at work in our lives. Often this happens because we have become far too busy and in need of a chance to pause, take stock and refocus, or as Jesus puts it, allow God to do some pruning in our lives… “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.” (John 15v1&2).
At this time in this year, I wonder if God is saying to us that it’s time for a bit of a pruning – in our personal lives, what things have we allowed to get in the way of our relationship with God – have we picked up some bad habits? Have we become lazy due to all the spare time lockdown has brought? Have we become fearful because of Covid-19? Have we allowed resentment, bitterness, jealousy or anger to build up because we’ve had time to dwell on things that we shouldn’t be dwelling on? These are things that prevent us bearing fruit for God and if we are not careful will be painfully cut off.
Maybe lockdown has been a blessing in disguise and your relationship with God has gone from strength to strength and you’re bearing fruit. If that’s true it would be great to hear some of your stories about how you have grown closer to God and seen Him at work. But even then we will still need pruning to ensure we continue to grow. What areas of your life is God speaking into right now?
And then for us as a Church here at BBC – God is certainly giving us the opportunity to look at what we do and how we do it and to see if we can prune some things and maybe even cut some things off and discard them. What we long for is the clarity that comes with God’s gracious pruning and tender care in our corporate and personal lives. May we take the time we have now, before things get too busy again, to allow God to speak into our lives and prune us where we needed so we can be more effective for Him and His Kingdom.
And just to finish, here’s a picture of the workers…