Last week, former procrastinators, while whacking away at overgrown bushes in the back yard, I was struck by the parallel with our office clean out. Both need pruning.
Both are examples of creep. The bushes grew unruly over time. Likewise, office papers, books, and equipment have multiplied. Bushes and office stuff have overstepped their undefined bounds. We put off dealing with the situations.
With the bushes, I obtained satisfaction in one afternoon. The vision of what the bushes should look like served as my guide. Clip by clip it was done. The job will need doing again, but we can maintain established boundaries.
The office is much more difficult. Satisfaction is slow in coming. Our schedules do not permit clean out in one concentrated time period. Instead, we inch along in a painful, slow process. The only way out is to steadily cut through.
We’re gaining a vision of how the office should be set up to function well. We’ll establish boundaries for stuff. We’re learning systems to use to maintain order that serves us well.
Trees and bushes often look better pruned. But they are also healthier. If fruit bearing, they will bear more and better fruit. When our office serves us well, we’ll be much better able to bear fruit. Performing our jobs will be streamlined. We’ll have time and ability to do the things God prompts. We’ll be less wasteful and frustrated, more rested, productive, and peaceful.
Overgrown bushes prevented the emergence of most of our day lilies. Excessive stuff or activities can prevent the development of fruitful things we desire in our lives.
Luke 3:9 provides a guideline to consider when we recognize that the Lord wants fruit from us. “Every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
When pruning, we make decisions and act. Some shrubs need trimming, others need cutting back nearly to the ground. They come back full and vigorous.
Some branches need to be cut out altogether because they’re dead or nearly so. Removing them spares the plant from pouring energy into something unprofitable. Freeing the plant of that effort enables it to flourish.
A nurseryman told me about a sickly bush, “With fertilizer, it will come right along and thrive.” After three years of care, the bush is no better. Sometimes we nurse something along that needs to be removed. Maybe it’s a project at work, outside activities, books we won’t read. We pray for discernment, make the cut – and flourish.
Friends or professionals can help us see what should be pruned and what boundaries to set. When I was growing up, our next door neighbor balked at pruning shrubbery. Though it was hard for her to cut a plant, she knew it needed to be done. So each year she asked my mom to do the job and Mother gladly obliged.
What do you need to prune? What good fruit could result?