Shortly after arriving in France I was looking out our kitchen window and noticed that there was a team of men swinging from the trees. I’m glad the boys didn’t see them or they might have thought this is an option that is available to them when playing outside. The acrobatic men were cutting the majority of the branches off of the trees as fast as they could and creating a huge pile of limbs on the ground. I thought it seemed a little dangerous to be swinging from a rope with a buzzing chainsaw but I’m sure these were highly qualified professionals since they all had hardhats. The trees looked like they had been trimmed back to the trunk and I thought for sure that they had killed the trees. I wondered if the Giving Tree had been translated to French because the young boys just took all the tree had left to give.
As spring arrived and the flowers began to bloom and all the other trees began to sprout their leaves these trees remained exposed. I thought to myself, I wonder why those guys didn’t like those trees. There weren’t any power lines that would have caused a problem and the trees were not close to any buildings.
As the season went on the trees slowly began to sprout their leaves and now the trees are just as full and robust as all the other trees, and my guess is they are healthier because of the trim.
This year sure was a pruning kind of year for us as we were stripped back to the trunk when it comes to learning a new language. We learned many language lessons and we have made several cultural blunders, not counting cutting the cheese incorrectly. But I think one of the biggest lessons that we have learned is the importance of staying connected to the trunk. Our trunk is Jesus Christ and we pray that he will continue to prune us to produce the fruit that he has already planned for us.
I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. John 15:1-4 NLT