I like and understand the first half of this verse. No fruit and the branch gets lopped off. We see that concept everywhere in our society. The employee who doesn’t work gets fired. The restaurant that doesn’t bring in customers closes down. The family that can’t make the payments loses their new camper. This is a simple fact of life that most of us recognize. We may not like it, but we understand it.
It’s the second part of this verse that bothers me. The branches that do bear fruit get pruned. I don’t really like that idea.
See, if this was me talking, I would have said something like, “Every branch that does bear fruit gets to take some time off and rest for awhile.” Or, “Every branch that does bear fruit earns points redeemable toward purchases at the grocery store or Amazon.com.” But that’s not what Jesus said. Instead of a break, you get pruned. Rather than extra rewards, you get cut back.
Such an arrangement hardly seems fair. Do some good stuff and you get to feel the edge of the knife.
Yet there is a point. “That it may bear more fruit.” More fruit comes from the pruning process. In other words, no pruning equals less fruit.
I don’t know about you, but I want to bear more fruit. Even if that means I get pruned.