He Pruned It, and Digged About It, and Nourished It – Jacob 5:4-5

4 And it came to pass that the master of the vineyard went forth, and he saw that his olive tree began to decay; and he said: I will prune it, and dig about it, and nourish it, that perhaps it may shoot forth young and tender branches, and it perish not.
5 And it came to pass that he pruned it, and digged about it, and nourished it according to his word.

(Jacob 5:4-5)

In this allegory, the Lord of the vineyard did everything he could to create an environment for growth, but he recognized that the growth would depend on the willingness of the vines to take advantage of the opportunity given to them.

  1. He pruned it.  Sometimes we start growing in a lopsided way or we are trying to grow too many directions at once. When that happens, the targeted removal of some of our branches may be necessary, even if it’s painful, to help us grow in a more balanced way. 
  2. He digged about it.  Sometimes opportunities become available to us that allow us to stretch ourselves and try new things. When that happens, we recognize the hand of the Lord, clearing the barriers around us to enable our growth.
  3. He nourished it. When we pray, study the gospel, or participate in priesthood ordinances, our souls are “nourished by the good word of God” (Moroni 6:4). This give us strength and courage to face our challenges with optimism and with creativity.

In the same way, we as parents, leaders, and teachers can’t force others to grow. However, we can facilitate their growth by helping them focus (pruning), by clearing the way and removing some of the obstacles they face (digging about), and by teaching and encouraging them (nourishing). 

Today, I will be grateful for the ways Heavenly Father facilitates my growth and progression. I will also think about how I can help those I lead and teach, remembering that my efforts should be focused on establishing an environment for growth, not trying to force the growth to happen.
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