Recently I saw famous restauranteur, Danny Meyer, on CBS’s 60 Minutes. I was intrigued by his attention to hospitality in his restaurants. He said, “If the food tastes great, that alone does not assure that you will come back here. So what hospitality does is adds the way we made you feel to how good the food tasted.”* I resonated with this quote and his passion to feed people in a way they feel cared for. But that is another topic for another blog.
True to my inquisitive nature, I wanted to know more about his passion and how he lives it out. Searching online for more of his story, I found a cookbook authored by him, Union Square Café Cookbook. Reading a little bit of it on Amazon, one paragraph jumped off the page. I knew as I read it that I would need to revisit it when I had time to talk it over with God.
Mr. Meyer wrote,
“A profound wine is usually produced when a winemaker is courageous enough to cut back his vines, sacrificing a large crop in favor of a smaller harvest with fewer, better nourished, and more intensely flavored grapes. No matter how good a winemaker is, it’s the quality of the grapes that will most determine the quality of the wine.”**
While reading this paragraph, I felt God whisper to me, “I am telling you something here.” My mind immediately went to the story Jesus told His disciples right before He was crucified. In John 15:1-8, Jesus explains that His followers are the branches that grow from His Vine. “He [God] prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit” (verse 2). The process Mr. Meyer described the winemakers doing to their grapevines is called pruning—cutting back of even good things so that the plant can spend all its energies producing a better fruit.
For a few months I have felt God cutting back areas in my life. I feel like I am left with the basic, most essential parts of my life—my relationships. My relationship with God, Gene, our girls, their guys, and our Grand. Also my two fistful of friends and my writing—mostly on my blog.
I wondered what was going on. What am I missing?
Could I be experiencing what Jesus taught in John 15 and what Mr. Meyer explained so beautifully? Has God pruned my life in such a way that I am investing in fewer people in a way that will make more of a difference in their lives and mine?
One thing I am certain of with God—I never really know what He’s up to. I guess that’s because He’s God and I’m not. (Winky face!)
But for this season, however long it may last, I am thrilled to be pouring into the precious people God has left on my branches and the few He has added. Every day is a surprise and adventure with God. The idea that my focusing my energies on these two fistfuls of dear people is right where I am to be and am to be about boosts me with joy and new purpose.
I wonder how God might be pruning your life so you can focus your energies on what is truly important.
*CBS 60 Minutes interview with Danny Meyer
**Danny Meyer, Union Square Café Cookbook
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.