“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” John 15:1-2
“Taking courage one hot summer day, the young branch looked up at the old branch and said in its squeaky voice, ‘It must be great to have people travel from miles around just to taste the sweetness of your fruit.’ The old branch nodded. Feeling encouraged, the young branch continued, ‘I have been talking with the other branches in the garden, and they say yours is the sweetest fruit.’ The old branch smiled. ‘When I grow up, I want to be just like you! How can I have sweet fruit like yours? I’ll do anything you say.’ As the old branch looked down on the young branch, he remembered the day when, as a young branch himself, he asked an old branch the same question. In his baritone voice, he gave the young branch the same answer he had received years earlier: ‘Be willing’.”
When advice is given to you to ‘Be willing’, what is your response? Is it a bowed heart or a canned response? Do you respond out of your poverty of spirit or your abundance of affluence? Do you examine your intentions or are you intent on examining the requestor? Do you seek His glory or glorify your complaints? Do you gratefully receive or receive without gratitude?
What does willingness look like, anyway? Have you ever given thought to that? What compass or barometer or yard stick or measuring tape are you using to determine your level of willingness? The definition of ‘willing’ is...prompt to act or respond.
All of us respond – you do realize that, yes? No matter what action or circumstance just played out, whether you take action or not, speak or not, we all respond at some level internally or externally. What drives your response? Is it a willing spirit? Is it directed by the Lord? The above scripture speaks to where our response should come from, what happens with responses not of Him, and what takes place when a willing heart allows for the pain of pruning to produce fruit of His desire – to His glory.
“Just then the gardener stopped by the old branch, and the young branch saw the old branch raise his leaves high in the air. He heard a snip, and the old branch lay on the ground except for the nub. Then the gardener turned to the young branch. His leaves were shaking, and tears rolled down his side, but with every ounce of strength he raised his leaves high in the air. He looked up into the gardener’s face and said, “Kind and gentle gardener, I’m willing.”
Heavenly Gardener full of grace, help us to have willing hearts – hearts accepting the pain of pruning for Your glory. May we seek your barometer – your word - with passion that permits the pain of pruning for fruit fit for a heavenly kingdom. Your Son modeled just that for us. In your Son’s blessed name, we praise you. Amen.
Story excerpts from Becoming God’s True Woman