Last week it was with sadness that I harvested mango’s from my tree for the last time till next year. Actually the mango’s were supposed to be done a few months ago, but after heavy rains, my tree produced a second crop!
Part of the sadness comes from the fact that I won’t have nearly as many Mango’s next year…..
Because in a few weeks we are going to prune the limbs
The limbs of my tree have been growing too long for a few years. It’s gotten to the point where it’s almost impossible to find a sunny spot in the backyard, since the tree’s limbs creates shade everywhere. I began talking with people about cutting back the limbs last year and in about a month will do some major pruning.
Pruning as you know affects the tree badly at the beginning. The fruit won’t hardly grow at all that first year! However in future years the tree will bring a much greater harvest because the limbs are now healthier
So we cut back now….to gain fruit later
I’ve been thinking about ministry as it relates to this tree illustration lately. It’s tempting to get involved in too many things (“a little of this, a little of that”). Our hearts are in the right place when this happens, but before long you end up putting forth a huge amount of effort for very little fruit. The truth is if I allow the tree to continue growing it will get too large to the point where fruit cannot be properly developed.
The answer is to cut back ministries to a select few so that true fruit can grow.
For me this means focusing on two main ministries during 2022. Reading help for teens and children, along with counseling (relationship development) for adults.
Scaling back to these two ministries is difficult because it won’t bring immediate results….but it will bring fruit in the future.
Pruning of ministry isn’t exactly a one time thing. It is a constant process of evaluating, removing what doesn’t belong, and strengthening the core outreaches.
We do this even so the fruit of tomorrow will be greater than the fruit of today.