Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Saturday night special

Today’s Reading: John 15:2 (NIV)

2 [Jesus said,] “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.

Good morning!

When our daughter Rachel was a little girl, she had the most beautiful head of long, silky blonde hair. I believe it was one of her most striking physical features. She would sleep on foam rollers every Saturday night so that her hair would lay in ringlets down her back on Sunday morning. I would spend time every morning braiding and putting her hair up in pigtails, buns and French knots. Every six months, we would trim two inches off the length, to remove any split ends from her hair and open the door for new growth. It’s amazing what a quick trim will do to ignite a growth spurt.

Our boys did not enjoy having their toenails trimmed. Benjie was extremely ticklish, and every time I would try to trim his toenails after a Saturday night bath, he would cackle and flinch and moan. As he wiggled uncontrollably, I would sometimes clip a little too close to the cuticle and Ben would end up nursing a sore toe for a couple of days. Telling him to be still didn’t work, because he just couldn’t control himself. To this day, I don’t think that boy would willingly let anyone touch his feet. David wasn’t nearly as ticklish as Ben, but he really did not enjoy those Saturday night pedicures. Have you ever noticed how quickly a child’s toe nail grows after being trimmed?

Generally speaking, trimming hair and toenails should not be painful, but sometimes, when the Father prunes our hearts, it can hurt a little, maybe a lot. It seems that, in order to continue growing in grace, we all need to experience a Saturday night special. The Father longs for each of us to mature in Christ, to bear fruit that will lead others into a meaningful, everlasting relationship with Him. Every now and then, God trims off some of the outgrowth and our tell-tale split ends that prohibits new growth. He focuses on the cuticle of our hearts, removing those tiny hang-nails that hinder us from reaching our fullest faith potential. Sometimes, God has to remove the debris of self-service, exclusivity, and prideful thinking before He can use us to bring people to Him. Are you in need of a Saturday night special before you come to worship the Lord this Sunday?

Father, today I’m asking you for a Saturday night special in my life. Remove the damaged split ends from my heart. Cut back the overgrowth and remove the lifeless branches that fail to bear fruit for your kingdom. The only growth I long for is to be firmly rooted in your Son, Jesus Christ, the one true vine. Amen.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO



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