The Shrubbery Parable

There is a flower and shrubbery bed outside of my kitchen window.  In it are several kinds of shrubs and flowers that are well tended by the landscapers of our condo association.  One of the shrubs has attracted my attention because it doesn’t seem to be thriving like the others nearby.  

Nearly every day, as I sit at our kitchen table and look out the window, I notice how half the branches are in full leaf with new buds forming, while the remaining half of the branches have no leaves at all.  It’s as if they’re two different plants…except they’re not.  Something is keeping the full plant from blooming.  This plant is only half alive.

I look at it day by day and recall that Jesus frequently used plant life to illustrate healthy and unhealthy spiritual life. On one occasion He said, “[GOD] cuts off every branch of Mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more” (John 15:2, NLT).

The Scriptures, which Jesus used to underscore spiritual wisdom, occasionally talk about the importance of having “eyes that see and ears that hear” because invisible truths are often made evident by the visible, things like shrubberies and fruit trees.  The key is that we are keen to discern and react to these truths when we see them before us.  It may be that they are here for more than pleasant scenery, but to teach us important lessons about our own lives.  

May we all have eyes that see and ears that hear.

© Byron L. Hannon, 2021.  All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted. 

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