September 20th – Deadwood Preservation Societies



I have always been amazed at our human capacity to venerate dead wood. No, I do not mean the rich raw material out of which we are able to fashion so much furniture, and build so many buildings, but rather those branches of wood which haven’t grown any leaves or fruit in years, because no life flows through them.
In the Bible, the vine is the favourite parable in both Old Testament and New. For example, in Ezekiel’s shortest Chapter, 15, God’s people are described as useless vines. You don’t keep vines for their wood. Why you can’t even make a decent peg to hang your coat on out of vine wood. Even when you use it for firewood it’s pretty useless, refusing to do more than char at the ends. A fruitless vine branch is a total dead loss. If you don’t believe me, read what Jesus said about it in John Chapter 15. But there is one task the vine branch can do which nothing else on earth can do – it can grow grapes. When it does this it is unsurpassable. When it doesn’t, it’s just fit for nothing. That is the fruit test, and Jesus used this picture so often.
Now one of our problems is that we love to keep dead wood. We are hoarders! There are anniversaries celebrated every year -thousands of them – of this organisation and that some even founded to win men and women for Jesus and now rejoicing that they are 200, 300 or more years old, and which have not yielded any fruit in decades. Not a single grape. Not a single convert. The same is true of many benevolent institutions and churches and church organisations. Jesus said ‘chop them off, cut the tree back, in order that the branches grow more fruit’. It’s true of you and me and our habits too, and a thousand other things. Friends, it’s pruning time.
Listen to Jesus:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:1-2
Fact: did you know that grapes never grow on old wood – only on new?
A Prayer:
Lord give us the sharpness, the courage and the strength to cut off our dead wood, so that fruit can grow again.
Task for today:
If you dare, draw up a list of fruitless time-wasters which encumber each of your 24 hours.
Now read Ezekiel Chapter 15.

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Thought 4 The Day

One single fact opposing all wit and argument is that no one ever repented of being a christian on his death bed. (Hannah More)

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