My daughter visited us recently. She works at a botanical garden in their desert collection and had the expertise to help me with some of my cactus and succulents that were in desperate need of repotting. One sansevieria in particular was so tight in the pot from multiple expansions that she had to cut the pot away.
She is used to taking away the old parts of the plant and tossing them while saving the newer growth and repotting. I struggle to breathe when she does this. I want to save everything. Every little plant part that still has a bit of life—no matter how twisted and browned—is something I want to try to revive. That isn’t feasible though.
My daughter removed the old growth that hindered the health of the succulent. She was careful to protect the roots as she worked and pruned. We ended up with a pile of sansevieria parts to throw away and also some beautiful pieces that will grow and multiply. By the time the salvageable pieces were potted, they appeared freer of restrictions and ready to fulfill their purpose. They were a study in beauty.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1-2 (NKJV)
Being pruned is not fun. Who wants parts of themselves torn away, even if those parts are dying or dead? We prefer to hold on to all those bits that are dragging us down and keeping us from our full potential in Christ. After all, we’ve become accustomed to those dead pieces. They’re part of us and we don’t want to let go.
We end up so focused on the past, working to make those parts presentable, that we don’t bear fruit. We need to shrug off what’s in the past and allow new growth so the blossoms will come and fruit will be the result.
Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15: 4-5 (NKJV)
That plant my daughter divided and repotted was at the point of not being productive. It was root bound in a too small pot and suffering from an overgrowth of leaves. She was so careful to keep the roots from being damaged. In the same way, when God does pruning He is very careful to keep our connection to Him. Without being pruned by God, we end up stagnant and unable to do the work we need to do. Sometimes, we’re even unable to worship God because we’re so mired in the overgrowth of life that we can’t see our way free to do so.
Besides our goal of worshiping God and doing His will, we need to focus on bearing fruit. On being so in tune with Christ that we desire to bear fruit. God is pleased when we do this. So, let’s allow God to remove the stifling pot, to cut away the old growth, and to repot us in fresh soil so that we can stand tall and be prepared to be fruitful. To be pleasing to Him.
“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:8 (NKJV)
A helpful perspective. We are downsizing to a townhouse in a couple of weeks, and I have spent the last month trying to sort through 30 years of accumulated detritus in my office. (For some reason, Hercules and the Augean stables have come to mind.) Being replanted in a new place where we can be more productive is exactly what we need!