Story of the Most Unusual Fruit Tree
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
“Today, I will produce 10 red apples just the right size,” the big, ancient apple tree exclaimed to himself. “Furthermore, I will write on my calendar the exact day they will ripen so I can send them off to market.” Then the tree lowered its head and looked dejectedly at the ground. “Why no matter how strong my roots, and broad my branches, nor how perfect the sunshine and great the rain, can I not bear the harvest to fill the baskets with just the produce I long for on the day I desire?” Soon thereafter, the apple tree had fallen into such a deep depression that he was able to bear no crop at all, but for an occasional odd-shaped, unripened piece of fruit that withered until it fell shriveled to the ground.
I have felt like this poor apple tree for as long as I can remember, striving in my flesh with all my might to produce fruit whereby I could love and serve the Lord and help others, only to find the more I have tried to orchestrate the type, size, shape, ripening, timing, and distribution of the fruit, the more I have looked dejectedly at the ground at the fruit that lay shriveled, bruised, battered, worm-infested, broken, and dying, if not dead. Or, I have looked up just long enough to see the tiny, barely visible fruit that landed in someone’s basket but only provided a little snack because they had never truly ripened. The trouble all along has not been my lack of desire to love and serve the Lord, but the foolish notion that I could, and should, do so without His Holy Spirit filing me, leading me, and bearing His fruit through me.
Day by day, I am learning to lift my little head up to the Lord, to pray for His Holy Spirit to fill me, and to yield myself to His love, strength and mercy as I marvel at the fruit I am beginning to bear that comes by His grace alone.