John 15:5 – I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (NKJV)
We have an hibiscus tree that I was given as a gift seven years ago. When I brought it home, it fit in the back seat of my car. When we moved two years later, it travelled in the moving van. It really has resided in one place in our living room. That spot is near a window, and has just the right lighting and just enough space to allow it to grow and flower.
It has grown! In fact, being a tree, the trunk is quite strong, which is a good thing, as our kitten loved to hide in the branches and then leap out onto our other cat. The hibiscus has bloomed faithfully over the years, and each time, I am very excited to see the first flower. Last year, though, it didn't bloom. We went a whole year without any flowers. We hadn't done anything different — it just didn't flower.
This spring, I went into the garden centre and asked them what to do. The lady suggested that I put it outside for the summer. She also said that I needed to prune it back. So the plant and I went out back, and I pruned it all right.
When my husband saw all that was left, he described it as basically a trunk and a few twigs. Within a few weeks, though, the twigs began to grow, and then leaves began to appear. Week after week over the summer, it began to take on life again. We noticed that the leaves seemed greener than before. Carefully, we watched the weather and brought the tree inside before the first really cool days, putting it back in its place near the window and watching the kitten — now a cat — climb inside. Soon, buds began to appear, and we waited and hoped that they would not fall off but open into flowers. Today, we awakened to the first flower.
Do our lives resemble the hibiscus? Do we at times not bear fruit, and do we need pruning? If we allow the Lord to do so, He can and will do this for us. Then we will find our lives bearing much fruit and glowing with the presence of Jesus, just like the hibiscus blooming with the flower.
Ezekiel 17:23 – On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. (NIV)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we invite You into our lives. We want to abide in You and to bear much fruit for Your kingdom. We want to be productive in our walk with You and in bringing others to know You. Help us to be humble and to allow You to do the work that is needed in our lives. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional