Outdoor Inspiration


By Pastor Brian Howellvine

I love being in our yard.  After a long winter, it feels so great to be outside in the warmth of the sun.  Many people despise yard work (including my wife), but I feel like I learn so many spiritual lessons to be learned as I invest in and care for our little corner of the world.

Part of cleaning up from winter is removing dead branches, and pruning others.  I don’t hesitate to practice these so we will have a full, pleasing landscape.  Jesus calls Himself the True Vine, and His Father the Gardener in John 15:2.  He reminds us  that every branch that does not bear fruit, He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes, so that it may bear more fruit.   Our Divine Vinedresser is all about maximum fruit production.  Although pruning is not fun, and I often wish there was another way to grow, it is a gracious act by a loving, caring Father.

My yard does not take care of itself.  I need to spend time there, investing in it to see growth.  We’re called in verse 4 to abide in Him, and He will abide in us.  We’re also reminded that a branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine.  We can’t bear fruit unless we remain, continue, stay, and dwell in Christ.  This looks like a continual daily, personal relationship with Jesus, characterized by trust, prayer and obedience.

I feel so rewarded to see a healthy, growing yard,  to see the results of my investment when it looks groomed and pleasing.  Jesus reminds us in verse 8 that we only bear much fruit when we abide in Him.  Apart from Him we can do nothing.  Fruit cannot appear on a branch without a strong, healthy tree with deep roots.  Good fruit is the result of the work of the Father in and through us.  He gets glory and is worshipped when we bear good fruit.  It also proves that we are connected to Him.

Having a fruitful yard is one thing.  Having a fruitful life is another.  Are our lives bearing fruit?  Do we see good results from our lives, bringing benefit to the lives of others and advancing the work of God in the world?  Let’s abide and find life, all to His glory.