Consider a man who caught up to his wife at the check-out with his hands behind his back and a smirk on his face. “Where were you?” she asked, “And what are you up to?” His smirk grew into a smile as he revealed a small, purple flowering plant. “Happy Anniversary!” he said as he added it to the cart full of other gifts she’d picked out.
When they got home, the woman carefully potted her little plant and placed it in the center of the table on the deck where she could see it outside her patio. Whenever she walked past the patio, she glanced at the cute purple flowers and thought of her husband’s silly smirk as he met her at the checkout.
The next morning, the woman gasped as she noticed the darling flowers drooping and the green stems turning dark. There had been a midsummer frost the night before, and the young plant wasn’t strong enough.
“What should we do?” the woman cried to her husband. He thought for a moment and replied, “It’s going to be sunny today. Let’s leave it outside and see how it does on its own.” The woman sighed and turned to her chores, glancing at her plant whenever she walked by the window.
The next morning, the wife got up early and went outside to the deck. Her chin fell to her chest when she saw two flowers sitting in the dirt just beneath the brown, decapitated stems.
The woman brought the plant inside and put it on the kitchen table in front of the window in hopes the shelter would ease the burden of healing. Before bed, she forced herself to gently break off the two dead stems. The next morning, however, several more flowers lay in the dirt beneath shoots of dull, sepia stems.
The wife sat beside her beloved, downcast plant. She knew what she had to do. She held the pot close, wishing there was another way. Twice she gripped a stiff stem between her thumb and pointer finger, but then let her hand fall.
The woman knew she had to do the hard thing if her gift would survive. She took a deep breath, and gently twisted off a stem and placed it on the table. Then another, and another, as each snap made her heart jump, until only the base of the plant remained.
After watering the plant, she placed it back in the warm summer sun. And then she waited.
Each morning for the next three days, she checked on her plant, looking for signs of life. Three small buds gave her hope before she left for the weekend with her husband.
Upon their return two days later, the woman set her bag on the kitchen floor and opened the blinds to the deck. Her husband dropped everything at the open trunk of the car when he heard her yell, “Honey, quick, come look!”
When he ran inside, his wife’s twinkling smile greeted him as she whispered “It’s even more beautiful than the day you gave it to me.”
Let all those with ears hear.
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. John 15:2 NIV