In the last allegory that we will examine in this series, we find ourselves once again meditating on one of the fundamental truths of our lives; the primary and most important relationship that we must maintain as disciples is with Jesus Christ.
I am the the true vine, and 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.
The image of the vine is sufficiently vivid as to fire our imagination. We receive the life giving nourishment only as we remain connected to that vine. To be separated is to die. It is the vine that has roots deep into the earth, drawing everything it needs from the creation. Some of the branches will make the most effective use of their junction with the vine and bear glorious fruit. Other will only see the connection in the most cursory terms, not drawing on it and simply surviving.
Dead wood is ruthlessly culled by the gardener. It harbors rot and danger to the healthy plant. Pruning of the live branches is nothing to be feared. Without this practice, energy can go into developing the branch’s wood rather than into bearing fruit. Cutting back the branch reorients its growth into the important task of bearing fruit, painful at first but beneficial in the end. Sometimes the branch that appears to have received the harshest cutback can produce the greatest fruit.