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.
The leader looked at us, looked at the plant, and looked at the dead branches at his feet. Meanwhile, the first biblical truth seeped into my 11-year-old mind.
It was the first time the youth group met after I realized Jesus was real and asked Him to take over. Steve, the leader, described the methods in pruning a plant and brought in a visual aid. I remember most the fact that I not only understood the lesson of John 15, but that I knew how to apply it. The word became alive to me that night.
John 15:5 has encouraged me as somewhat of a “life verse” for decades. I suppose it is a life verse in two meanings. First, keeping it close throughout my life has produced many good decisions. Secondly, the verse describes how to live the best life, by being close to Jesus. Saying that it is a verse that is at the core of my life is ironic, since the verse explains how to live life to the fullest.
In this verse, Jesus explains how Christianity is like a plant. Sometimes, the parts that aren’t working need to be cut off. And not the parts that aren’t working for us, but the parts that aren’t working for God. Usually, we read this verse to consider sin in our lives that needs pruning.
Perhaps it is also a call to review our programs, policies, and procedures that are not life-giving. What needs to be removed so that the organization is healthier and stronger?
I recently heard of a nonprofit that did this practice of pruning. They made sure every program aligned with the mission. Then, they reviewed the activities in each program to make sure that those activities supported the program outcomes that then supported the mission. Or, if there were program outcomes not being addressed. I know this organization is better because of their critical thinking.
Of course, the challenge is to stay on mission and allow the Master Pruner to do His work, even when its uncomfortable or hurts. Digging in (pun intended) can produce better fruit.
I’m issuing you a challenge. Read John 15:9-17 on your own. Find the verse that resonates with you the most. Is that because it reflects on the nonprofit you are part of? How can it be applied to your life (or the life of your nonprofit)? Share the verse that meant something to you on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks
Prayer: Jesus, I’m going to be brave and ask you to prune the things in my life that bring death. I’ll stick close to you today.
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© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.