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It’s Rose Pruning Time…


It’s time to prune the roses.

I’m no gardener. Nothing that I plant seems to grow. During the spring of this year a company was advertising a product for garden owners like me. It was a mixture of flower seeds and fertiliser. All you had to do. (Allegedly) was to rake over your flower bed, scatter the miracle product in the soil, and wait for an abundant display of various annual bedding plants later in the Summer. It all sounded so easy, and so simple, – anyone could have a beautiful garden, assuming one could afford to pay for the product. I could, and I did. I bought one bottle of the stuff. (Yes, it came in large plastic bottles), and followed the instructions to the letter. Did it work as advertised? Not a chance. One pathetic little clump of bedraggled flowers was the result.

Now that established in my mind the truth that green fingers cannot be genetically inherited. My maternal grandfather was a professional gardener. He worked for Belfast City Council, in the parks Department, and did so right throughout his working life. He rose to be the foreman gardener and park manager in one of the city’s beautiful parks. His displays of roses were legendary. I can well remember a beautiful terrace of climbing roses which ran along the top of a grass bank, glorious scented blooms, a joy to look upon. And that brings me back to the subject of pruning. I can still remember that at this time of the year, early November, that he spent his days pruning his beloved roses. He had a theory, that you should prune your roses, in the manner that they would be pruned by your enemy. Rose pruning should be aggressive. He knew, of course, where to make the cuts, but when we watched him, and saw the branches and stems falling away and being taken to the dump, we wondered how the plants could ever survive. Yet they did, and the following year their blooms were bigger and better than before. Roses thrive with pruning.

So do Christians. Jesus said, I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:1-2

If we are bearing fruit for God, (and there is something wrong with our Christianity if we are not) he will chasten and prune us, so that our fruit-bearing might be increased. We must expect it, and recognise it when it happens.

From → Encouragement

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