When Is It Time to Prune?

Written by Pastor Kai Horn
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Either make the tree good and its fruit good; or, else, make the tree bad and its fruit bad for a tree is known by its fruit. Matthew 12:33 ESV

I was sitting looking out my window on Monday; the public utilities company from the city in which I live was pruning trees. It was an amazing feat to watch. There was simply a big truck that came by and it cut back every branch, limb and leaf that had grown beyond certain parameters and found themselves hanging over the road. Where I am from, they do not prune trees as such. I stopped them to ask was this customary? The gentlemen stated that during the summer, the trees are pruned back so that during stormy seasons there will be a decrease in the damage that the excess branches, limbs, and leaves do to the surrounding area. What a novel thought! Spend the summer pruning, so that less damage will be done during the storms.

As I reflect on how this applies to living life encapsulated by the irresistible grace of God, I realized that God’s divine favor does not prevent us from having storms. In fact, sometimes it feels like the more that we live in God’s grace the more storms enter into our path. Paul says it best when defending his ministry in 2 Corinthians 6:8-10. He states that we are to commend ourselves in every way, “…through honor and dishonor, slander and praise. We are treated as imposters and yet are true; as unknown and yet well known; as dying and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making rich; as having nothing and yet possessing everything.” Paul shows to us that we are not approved or commended by the good things only; but, that this grace of God, in this salvation that we claim we find ourselves commended even in the storms.

If we believe this then the question for us today is this, “When is it time to prune?” When is it time to surrender to the word of God and cut off some of the excess branches, limbs, and leaves so that less damage is done in the storm? You do know that some of the damage that we incur during difficult times in our lives is not as a result of the current storm. The current storm may blow the cold, harsh wind; but, it is our past hurt, failures and disappointments reverberating in our minds that make things worse than they seem. I like the passage about because it specifically says “either make the tree good and its fruit good or make the tree bad and its fruit bad. The tree is known by its fruit. All trees that appear bad are not bad. In the heart and at the root they are good trees. I firmly believe that they need a little pruning. It is always a good time for pruning.

Today, I will begin the pruning process.  I want my praise, not my problems to be with me in the storm.

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