The Sober Business of Pruning


If you frequent this site, you are aware that I have taken to gardening. Last year, when I first moved to Homosassa, I got it into my head that I could grow some of what we eat, and I immediately went to YouTube for gardening videos. They led to some experiments, which mostly failed, and I also thought I’d try my hand at tomatoes. After all, everyone likes tomatoes, and if i can’t grow anything else, perhaps I can trade tomatoes for other vegetables.

I began with four different kinds of heirloom tomato seeds. I thought I’d try them because I noticed they were more expensive in the store than regular tomatoes, and I heard them getting rave reviews from organic vegetable purists. So, I planted what I thought was 48 seeds in egg cartons, and it turnout out I planted 50.

Fast-forward to today, and I now have rows of tomato plants and I am beginning to eat some of them! I have German Green tomatoes, which have to be gently squeezed to test for ripeness since the color gives no clue, Colossal Yellows, Cherokee Chocolates and Cherokee Chocolate Cherries. I have about 25 of the original plants, and they are 3 to 5 ft tall. They make quite an impression on my visitors, and I am tempted to be proud of them.

To be sure, I am aware I am a neophyte gardener, and I know I have done a fairly sloppy job of it. I have tried to fill the gaps where I am not much of a farmer by praying for these plants and asking the Lord’s blessing on them. He gets the credit for all I survey. But while I was praying for my plants, I also asked him what all this means to me, and what is He wanting me to learn from the experience. After all, this is highly irregular activity for me. I do NOT like working in the yard, but I have felt drawn to do this.

While watching a video about pruning tomato plants, I remembered what Jesus said in John 15:2, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Well, that is what I wanted: more fruit. I am not just growing leafy plants to be ornamentals. I want tomatoes!

So, I started looking carefully for any signs of fruit. The cherry tomatoes came up first, but all my other plants were giving me blossoms, but no fruit. I also noticed I was getting my first attack of leaf miners, these tiny insects that make tunnels in your leaves. It looks like yellow tracks all over the leaves. Those had to go. In general, plants with too many leaves got shorn. Almost every day I was trimming away unnecessary foliage. It seemed to pay off. After awhile I started seeing tomatoes budding from where the blossoms were.

A couple of days¬† ago, I believe I got a word from the Lord in my garden. He said, “You are pruning, but you are not taking away.” I looked at one of my well trimmed plants, and noticed one long branch that had born nothing. It was sucking up water and nutrients and there was no fruit. I cut it off from the main stalk and examined it. It was part of that plant from the beginning, yet it had never produced. I looked around and found a couple of others. And a few more. I was sad that I had to cut them back so far. It seemed like such a shame. Then I realized that we were not really talking about tomato plants.

“I am the vine; you are the branches.” This took on an entirely different meaning. I realized that I need to be pruned. There are things that need to be cut off, so that I may bear more fruit. He said MORE fruit.¬† He wants me to grow, and in order for that to happen, there are things that have to go.

And that is why I am no longer involved in politics. It was a great, fruitless branch in my life. It was leafy and looked healthy, but there was no fruit on it. It attracted parasites and disease. I got invited to a local candidate event yesterday and had to say NO, and WHY. It was not advancing the Kingdom of God, so it had to go. It’s all about the fruit.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” Matthew 6:33.