Friday, August 27, 2010

DEVOTION: Therapeutic Pruning by Ray Hawkins

Do the plants feel anything when I prune them? I wonder!  Future blooms may be their way of telling me they ‘forgive me’ for the pain. Still Lord, there is something therapeutic to my heart and mind as I cut off unwanted growth and dead stalks. I know also that I will receive a dividend from the plants for the effort expended which expresses my interest in them and their potential.

As I cut and snip with creative energy I think about my Heavenly Father’s role as a gardener according to John 15:1. When He prunes I feel it. There are times I react for what He considers ‘dead wood’ and I happen to enjoy or have a special attachment to it.  The secateurs of His Word also cuts my unsavoury behaviour, unholy attitudes, excuses and self interest without mercy. I sometimes cry “unfair” for others I know don’t seem to be suffering the same attention.

In my spiritually sane moments (some may say they are very rare) I understand His purposes. My Heavenly Father has invested a great deal in redeeming me from the worthless realm of Darkness. His Word says He desires me to be ‘filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and  praise of God.’ (Philippians 1:11)

Lord, for whom is the fruit?
It cannot be for the ‘tree’, me in this case. The credit for the fruit goes to the gardener that’s obvious. However, He doesn’t need my goodness, patience, self-discipline etc. Therefore He prunes so the ‘fruit’ produced goes to meet the needs of others. In thinking about the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22, 23 in such light I have to admit with sorrow I don’t often have much ‘fruit.’

Can I apply your principle of pruning to my writing? 
Why do I bother pruning my book creation or specific article? I like it as it is, plus I to battle my ‘near enough good enough’ temperament. Unfortunately editors have word limits and readers don’t enjoy the obscure or verbiage. They want to enjoy the ‘fruit’ of my labour and have a sense of pleasure from an ‘eating through the eyes’ experience.

More than that, I prune words and phrases so you Lord might turn words into seeds to implant into someone’s heart and mind!

How I long to produce a ‘future fruit tree, flower garden, majestic lawn’ in barren lives, rocky relationships, lonely wildernesses. So I guess that’s why you keep pruning me as a writer to sharpen my ability to prune for the best outcome of my writing.

What you said in Hebrews 12:11 sums it up rather nicely, ‘No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.’ Maybe I’d simply add ‘and who have read my pruned publication.’

‘The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life.’ Proverbs 11:30

©Raymond N. Hawkins 2010.

Raymond N Hawkins(Tasmania) is a retired Churches of Christ (Australia) minister. He is married to Mary, a multi-published author. They are parents to three children and ‘spoilers’ of 5 grandchildren. Ray still preaches at a newly formed Baptist Church and as other opportunities arise. He helps at their son and daughter-in-law’s sea horse and fresh-water fish farm. He and Mary have experienced three short-term mission trips to African countries as well as ministered in the U.K.


  1. A well-written remind of the reason for pruning Ray. I don't like being pruned. I wonder if anyone does? But I admit I enjoy the fruit.

  2. At least for for us in the Southern Hemisphere it has been pruning season for roses especially these last few weeks. Might highlight to "Northerners" as well as oursleves the difference worldwide of seasons. And that sure is what we have with God - seasons of our lives. Pruning seasons may sure be unpleasant but the fruit so very, very worthwhile.