Recently, I’ve participated in two events that I wanted to share with all of you ETS readers–this past week’s The Journey retreat with The Leadership Institute and a wonderful Garden Tour at our home to help raise scholarship funds for our church’s women’s ministry.
Both are relatively different, yet there was a common thread through them both of God’s goodness. We’d known of both events for quite some time. The past couple months have involved slowly getting the yard ready for visitors–pruning this plant here, sweeping that corner there–and an internal excitement about sharing our passion of gardening with yet-to-be friends.
Early last week, I left for The Journey with a bit of apprehension. Still, while the yard was generally ready to go, part of me was ready to stay home to ensure every detail was covered. And yet it was during The Journey that one of my colleagues taught a lesson that made a big impact. He reminded us of Jesus’ teaching of the parable of the vine in John 15, a passage I tend to be in at least weekly. My colleague said that early in his Christian walk, this passage freaked him out–specifically “every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (v. 2). Why would a good Gardener prune branches that were healthy? I instantly thought of my garden and all the work we’d been doing these past few weeks. My colleague continued on to talk about how God the Father, before we were ever born, with a great and passionate love for each one of us, prepared a place for us in His garden, knowing where He wanted to place us so we could be the most fruitful. I’ve done that with each of my plants in the yard when they were just little seedlings, figuring out which side should face out, repositioning them in the ground just so so they could flourish. God the Father does this with us as well, and it brings me joy to know this great truth!
As each of us lives out our day today and the rest of this week, may we be mindful of this great fact: we are where we are because God is aiming to teach us something, something about ourselves, about one another, about Him, that we may have His life abound in us all the more. Amen.