We all know what it is like to be busy. It seems like busyness follows us into every stage of life, from our student days, to parenting days, to retirement or even into the child with older parents’ stage. We can all relate to being busy. And business is exhausting, both physically and mentally. But what would our lives look like if we were not busy? What if we were not created to be this busy?
But what if I told you that we were not designed to live in a state of frenzy? What if you could live a life at a slower pace that gives you margin to soak up time with family and friends, to pursue a hobby, and even enjoy the little moments in life that are so fleeting? I am sure everyone agrees that they would love to have a little more margin in their life. But how?
In the Bible, Jesus never seemed to be in a hurry. He always had time for the sick, the poor, the needy and never seemed to be rushed. But, how did he do it? Sure, he was fully God, but he was also fully man. So, there must be a pattern that he set forth that we can follow.
John 15 gives us a lot of insight on how Jesus accomplished what he did in his short time on earth. In 15:5 he says “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” This verse gives us the first step into how Jesus was able to accomplish the work that he did. First, he is telling us to abide in the father as he did. He rested in him and sought him for guidance, direction, wisdom, and strength. As Christians, I believe many of us already do this, or at least try to. But there is a second part of how to accomplish this and it is found in verse 2. “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful.”
Anyone that knows anything about gardening knows that to get the most out of your plants or trees, they need thinned or pruned from time to time. It seems crazy to cut off a part of the plant that may be producing fruit, but it allows the energy to go to the best parts of the plant so they can produce even more fruit. But how does this apply to us?
Just as a gardener prunes a plant, we need to examine the areas and activities of our lives that are the most productive. Then we need to look at the other areas that are not. Are they draining you of your energy and time so that you are unable to pour your resources into the more fruitful endeavors? As painful as it may be, it may be time to cut them off. Sure, there will be some things we may not be able to cut off completely, but maybe there are ways we can trim them back. This may be hard and scary at first. But just as an overgrown fruit tree that has had a hard pruning looks a little strange and bare, I am sure it is a welcomed change as it now has more space and room to breathe.
I challenge you this month to look at your lives and ask the master gardener what areas of your life need pruning. It may not be obvious at first, but he is faithful and will grant us the wisdom and knowledge to know what to change if we ask for it. While this may be scary, we must trust him in this process so that we can become “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:3.
Some of my recent projects that I sometimes let myself get too busy with.