There are mandarina trees planted in our garden. I call them mandarinas because that’s the Spanish name for them. There are maybe 25 trees, and some bear more fruit than others, but there is one tree that bears both mandarinas and oranges.
I like this tree, the oranges are few but very good. It’s interesting because the orange branches have been grafted in to the main trunk of the tree and the fruit ripens at a different time to the mandarinas.
Until recently. I arrived home one evening to find that the gardener had been, and for some reason he had cut off all the mandarina branches from the tree. He had also chopped off nearly all the branches of the fig tree, but that’s another story.
I thought it odd, but it wasn’t until a month or so had passed that the tree caught my eye again. Green oranges (you know what I mean, they are only orange in color when they ripen) were growing all over the tree. I had never seen that many oranges on that tree before. And as I write they are growing into big juicy oranges!
Now, I’ve read John chapter 15 a number of times, I understand the principle of removing seamingly fruitful branches so that more fruit can grow. But I’d not seen it in action like this before. And God spoke to me through this about my life at this time. I am in a time of change, moving from something I know into something new, and it’s hard, change always is.
God is always working for our good, but it doesn’t always feel that way. I know I have to change the way I think and do things in my life here in Spain. The old wine skins can’t hold the new wine God is bringing, so he does what only he can do and transforms my mind, cutting away the old.
The Mandarina Tree is a reminder to me that God wants me to be fruitful. Very fruitful. And because he is the Gardener of my soul he needs to cut away the stuff that hinders that fruitfulness. Sometimes that is sin, or wrong thinking, or old ways of doing things, wrong attitudes that won’t carry through into the new.
So I can trust that God knows what he is doing in my life. I can see the fruit growing on the tree, and I want that so much to be a reflection of my life. So in obedience, I submit my life to him and allow him to cut away those things in me that hinder my growth. I want to be fruitful. Lord, make me fruitful.