The Prune

Author - Keyshawn Parkman

 As the days continue to pass us by here at the house, I have come to realize how God is using my time here to prune me and it’s been bittersweet. I’ve done some studying on pruning and it’s a necessity in the lives of us as believers. I believe the topic of pruning is a perfect representation of not only my past week but also a representation of how God will grow me throughout my time here.

In John 15:1-2, Jesus says, “I am the true vine, 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.” In the last few weeks, we’ve spent a good amount of time serving our community by tending to their yards. We worked on about 8 different yards varying in size and difficulty, chopping down trees, raking leaves, mowing grass, and much more. During our time in these yards, God showed me how the yard was an active representation of His children, and He personalized it by revealing to me how much of an active role He has in my life. By meditating on this verse in John 15, I was able to realize how the pruning process revealed to me just how much God cared about me.

This has been a difficult process, I’ve been learning how to be most effective in the space that I’ve been put in. I’ve been trying to adjust my focus from myself to how I can put my team before me, and in making this switch I realized just how much I’m having to die to myself. I’ve been encouraged to understand that the Holy Spirit will guide me through this process, but as I’ve let Him lead, I’ve come to realize that He desires that the unfruitful branches in me be cut away and that the branches that do produce fruit be pruned.

A general process for pruning starts with examination or assessment, and a correct use of tools to make precise cuts. As we made our way to each yard, one of the first things we did was examine it. We’d have the opportunity to discuss with each owner what exactly needed to be done, we’d make a lap around the house to see for ourselves what needed to be done and we’d get started. We’d bring various tools with us, from lawnmowers to blowers, rakes, weed eaters, brooms, and even a chainsaw. Each tool had its specific job, and we’d alternate our tools as we needed to. I’ve seen this process here as well as in my time at The Fellowship. We spent a good chunk of our time together at the house, doing just about everything as a unit; from reading together, cooking together, watching TV together, and even yard work.

The one thing we’re doing amongst each other whether we realize it or not is examining one another, which in my case might be just exactly what I need in this season. When you have people who live around you and see how you operate and function on a day-to-day basis, they tend to see things that you typically wouldn’t. There may be certain ways that we operate that would work well with us as individuals, but become a hindrance in a team setting. I’ve been blessed to have a team around me who has been able to help me see those blind spots and help me correct areas in my life that aren’t beneficial when it comes to loving others the way God has called us to. Whether it’s been helping me in the kitchen when it comes to cooking or learning new skills, teaching me how to use a chainsaw or how to clean a hot tub; God has used us to examine each other and with us as His tools, I believe He’s using us to prune each other as well.

My time here has been difficult, to say the least, as I’m not used to living around people with the proximity we have. There have been numerous times when I’m called to lay my desires down for the betterment of the team and it’s not the most enjoyable process. All in all, I understand that however difficult this process may be, God is using this to teach us how to love the way He loves. I see him showing me how to die to myself and my desires the way He had, and it’s been encouraging. I’ve been able to shift my perspective as I continue to get to know and grow in love for the team God is using us to prune each other, and I couldn’t be more excited for the end result.

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