Purposeful Pruning For Fruit That Will Last - Glasshouse Christian College

Purposeful Pruning For Fruit That Will Last

  • May 25, 2023

Purposeful Pruning For Fruit That Will Last

“If only someone had trimmed that limb above the stable when it was small.”

I recently dealt with a problematic limb from a large gum tree which was overhanging an old stable on my property. This tree had continually been dropping large branches with a thud onto the stable roof where I keep the ride on mower and other bits and pieces. This one particular limb had grown rebelliously in a perpendicular direction over the top of the stable roof, almost as if it were defiantly wanting to cause trouble, rather than in the same uniform manner as the other tree limbs. If only it had been trimmed years before, when the tree was smaller and easier to access, then the ropes and manpower would not have been necessary to rectify the hazard now. 

So, with help from my two sons and their friend, a professional arborist, we set about dealing with the ‘branch dropping’ limb, hoping to declare the stable a safe zone one day, where the roof and contents stored under it could be accessed without fear of damage or destruction.

The Arborist made his way to the top of the tree, and at about 30 meters in the air, tied himself and the limb off with separate ropes, then the chainsaw began its roar. The plan was to slowly guide the limb down with ropes attached from the ground after the limb had been cut, using a cleverly planned pully system into the neighbouring paddock and away from the stable roof. The cut was precise, and the limb began to slowly descend, for a few seconds at least. Let’s just say it didn’t completely go to plan! The limb did come down, but much quicker than I would have liked, and with an almighty crash. The stable roof was “redesigned” that day due to a frayed old rope that went ‘snap’. My roof was wrecked, all because this little limb was not trimmed many years ago when perhaps it should have been.

Last Friday, 83 Year 9 students took some time away from the classroom to plant 1000 trees in partnership with the Sunshine Coast Council Bush Care team. It was a joy to see the students represent the College by serving the community in this way. As I watched the process that took place of planting, covering, and watering these small plants, I was reminded that in the background grew another 1000 trees which were planted previously by our current year 10 cohort. These saplings had grown so quickly in 12 months from 20cm to now more than 1.5 meters, and it won’t be long before some of these trees will become great gums, not unlike the one that towered over my stable roof with the problematic limb.

Since that day off campus with the Year 9 students, I have reflected on how the Bible often talks about God as a gardener. A gardener who plants and prunes for the purpose of producing a healthy tree that will one day yield good fruit. A gardener who prunes destructive and foolish thinking so that productive and wise living may sprout forth instead. 

In John 15, Jesus said, “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.”

In many ways, teenagers can be like freshly planted trees that grow up quickly but frequently require proper pruning. As parents and teachers, we carefully engage in timely ‘pruning’ conversations with them, which at times can be painful but necessary in dealing with fruitless behaviours that don’t benefit good growth and can cause bigger problems in the future.

“If only someone had trimmed that limb above the stable when it was small.”

I have often had conversations with my two sons who are now beyond the teenage years and now into their early twenties. On several occasions, they have noted some of the ‘pruning’ conversations that we had, which they acknowledge if not attended to, may have resulted in unhealthy addictive, and foolish behaviours.

As Acting Year Level Coordinator for this term, I have had several occasions where the ‘pruning’ conversation with some students has been necessary, and yes, some students do require much patience with multiple conversations! But what a joy and privilege it is when a young person listens, understands, and accepts the redirection because they know that there are adults in their lives who actually care about who they are and what they become.

The teenage years are an interesting season in a young person’s life where the desire to establish their own identity and independence can be strong. Their potential for growth seems supercharged at times, which is why caring, intentional support from both teachers and parents is so valuable and necessary. 

Purposeful pruning for fruit that will last means that you might never need to worry about behaviour that resembles that ‘problematic limb’ that once hung over my stable roof. May God give us all the wisdom and patience to ‘prune’ carefully so that young lives might mature and fulfil their God-given potential as they become responsible young adults.

God blesses people who reject evil advice, who won’t follow sinners, or who join in mocking God. Instead, they find happiness in the Teaching of the Lord, and they ponder it day and night.

Psalm 1

They are like trees growing beside a stream, trees that produce fruit in season and always have leaves. Those people prosper in everything they do.

Andrew Lucas, Head of Christian Studies, Acting Year Level Co-ordinator Year 9

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