Delight of the Master Gardener
I will sing for the one I love
a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard
on a fertile hillside.
He dug it up and cleared it of stones
and planted it with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it
and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,
but it yielded only bad fruit.
Part of the delight of a gardener is having plans for His fruit. Before the fruit is even produced it is a joy for a gardener to dream of sharing His crop ie family, neighbors, fill the pantry in preparation for unannounced guests.
As part of His vineyard, who does God want to share His fruit from your life? Your husband, your children, coworkers, those who simply pass by in your life? When one is in your presence are your branches bowing down from the weight of ripe fruit for the picking? Is love or joy within reach as one passes by? Is peace available for those who struggle with anger and turmoil around you? Is kindness easily available when a disheartened one is in need? When someone harms you, do you return evil for evil or does goodness abound from this healthy plant? When someone in your presence loses his or her temper or is downright selfish can he or she find the fruit of faithfulness and gentleness to rest in as they struggle I your presence?
This good fruit that God so desires can only be grown from a healthy plant that is grafted in and connected to the vine of Jesus Christ. This healthy connection allows the Holy Spirit to flow and not only nourish a healthy plant but produce the fruit of The Holy Spirit that is talked about in Galatians 5:22. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Our good fruit is none of our business. It is not up to the plant to determine who partakes of its fruit. The plant does not determine who deserves such goodness or who should be deprived of it. The Master Gardener is the one who determines to whom He shares His fruit.
Being a healthy plant is our business; growing our roots deep where He has planted us, drinking in the water of The Word for nutrition, accepting the pruning from The Master Gardner’s hand and accepting His protective care for us. This is our business. Doing and accepting what is needed to be a healthy plant that will then produce His fruit is our concern. .
And yet, scripture says that under all of this lovely care, I am capable of producing not only good fruit but bad fruit.
“What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it only yield bad?” Isaiah 5:4
How do I produce this bad fruit? What does it look like? I believe bad fruit is the opposite of the fruit of The Holy Spirit and this bad fruit’s source is self. Galatians 5:17 states that The Spirit and self are in constant conflict. The Master Gardener is looking for good fruit that pleases Him. But often we are producing bad fruit. What a disappointment this must be to Him.
Fruit of The Spirit
Fruit of The Spirit
Our bad fruit should be very much our business. It is wise to be on the constant lookout for bad fruit. Self is the life source of bad fruit. A nurtured self keeps bad fruit in existence. Scripture says that self and The Spirit are in constant conflict. Whichever one gets the most nutrients grows the most fruit.
Fruit; good or bad is found in any believing Christian’s life. Fruit is the product of a life source that flows through the plant. Good fruit is a product of being connected to the true vine, Jesus Christ. Once we are grafted in, His life source produces good fruit of the Holy Spirit. We help cultivate this good fruit with healthy nutrients of truth from His Word and choose surroundings, people and activities that thrive on His ways and His truth. Steps of obedience keeps this life source freely flowing through us and trains us in the right direction to thrive and be healthy.
Bad fruit is produced from the life source of self. Self that wants to justify and protect itself. Self that finds food in our hearts, thoughts and society that will feed and grow bad fruit; fruit of the flesh. Food for self is justified thoughts of why we are “right” and why we tell ourselves that it is okay to display such stinky, rotten fruit. This food for self is found in abundance in what we watch, read, hear, think and people we seek out to support such thoughts. The longer we allow the bad fruit on the vine, the stinkier it gets to The Master Gardener. When bad fruit is left alone, disease sets in and it becomes systemic, affecting the entire plant and those around it.
It’s not enough to detect and identify bad fruit and wish it away. One must be willing to pause; look at the fruit and lift it to The Father, The Master Gardener. I believe, as a good father He is interested in the emotion that feeds and justifies this bad fruit. He wants to hear what is in our minds and hearts; the hurt, betrayal, injustices, devastation and disappointments.
As a good father He must long for this transparency. He must hunger for us to share such feelings. It must be a precious place to Him when we feel safe enough to be honest with Him about the emotion feeding this bad fruit. This place of transparency allows Him to receive this bad fruit from our hands and into His; as we explain the pain behind it, this is where we transferee or surrender our will to keep such fruit alive and part of our life. Talking to God and inspecting the fruit with Him is a bonding experience. One that strengthens and builds a trusting relationship.
This trusting relationship is a place that we can then ask Him to reveal the root and the sources that are feeding and growing this bad fruit. As any relationship, this honesty builds and cultivates a trust. A trust that will not shy away from the hand that holds the sharp pruning shears. It is the pruning, the cutting away and killing the source of self that brings new growth. New growth produces new, good, healthy fruit, Fruit of the Spirit. The more mature the plant, the deeper the cut.
May we each rest in the place He has planted us and flourish under His sincere care. May we thrive in the spacious place that He has so carefully selected and planted us. May we be aware of and soak in His delight toward us, as He takes such loving care of His vineyard.
I will sing of The One I love….The One who delights in me….