The Father Prunes All His Children
In the last few hours Jesus spent with His disciples He taught them that the Father prunes His followers. In John 15:1-11 Jesus lays out these elements of the pruning process:
- Jesus is the vine.
- The Father is the vine dresser.
- Jesus’ followers are branches.
- Branches are to bear fruit.
- The Father prunes branches to produce more fruit.
There isn’t a lot of detail in this passage as to how this works. Here are two things we can be sure of:
- To prune is to take away.
- The goal is more fruit.
Here’s my story of how God pruned me.
I started in the ministry at age 30. Over the next 17 years I served as a senior pastor, seminary business manager, missionary, administrative pastor and Bible teacher with Walk Thru the Bible (WTB).
At the age of 47 I was in part-time ministry and working full-time for a computer company. My ministry was teaching WTB Live Events on weekends. The majority of my time was spent in business. My walk with God was great. I was seeing fruit in my Bible teaching ministry but my main focus was not on my call and passion.
A friend summed it up, I was too competent to fire and too comfortable with the income to quit. So the Father took out His pruning shears. The company I worked for had one customer that provided 80% of its business. One day we lost that account. The next day my job was eliminated. I understood from a business standpoint why it happened. It took me a while to understand spiritually how the Father prunes us.
The company didn’t lose the customer just because of me. It had other managers and the owners could have kept me if God wanted me there. I lost my job because the Father pruned it from my life.
The next few months were difficult in many ways. Margaret and I prayed and sought the Lord. Soon I knew I needed to return to full-time ministry. But where and doing what?
It was then, in 2001, that the Father gave me the vision for this ministry I have now. As I was praying an idea came to mind. I realized I could reach the world through the computer even back then. So in 2001 I registered the domain www.toeverynation.com that I am using now. It took 12 years and a couple of detours but I’m doing what the Father led me to do. If the Father had not pruned that job from me, I might still be working for the computer company.
If you’re walking with God, producing fruit and struggling because you’ve lost your job or had to move or something else has been taken out of your life, it may be the Father is pruning you. Only you will know if it is pruning when you get through it.
If you want to read a good book on how the Father prunes us get the little book Secrets of the Vine.
Do you have a story to share about being pruned? Please share it or a question below.