For several years I had a dying apple tree in my yard. I stubbornly refused to cut it down until it no longer produced fruit. It was the strangest sight about one third or more of the major branches were dead and soft from rot. Yet it produced an abundance of great apples on the remaining limbs. I made several apple crisps to share with neighbors and family each season. One bumper year I put away some delicious home-made cinnamon applesauce.
The day eventually came, not quite the way I had imagined. I thought the aging, decaying tree would gradually taper off its fruit production until it produced no more. That tree was loaded with blossoms its final spring, I think there were as many as all previous years. The pretty blossoms soon turned to tiny apples and I was astounded and ecstatic with the beginning of what appeared to be another bumper crop. Unfortunately, I did not gather a single apple. The tree was finally finished. Though loaded with fruit the tree no longer had enough life or strength to hold the apples through till autumn harvest time. Everyday as the tree’s strength ebbed away immature apples dropped to the ground. Then the large portion, seen in these photos, fell to the ground with a dull thud.
God’s Visual Illustration
Amidst the sadness of losing my delicious apples the Lord provided me another sweet treat – a visual lesson from the tree.
I was reminded of a command God had given after creation, “be fruitful and multiply.” The tree had done its job and done it well. This gave me reason to pause in spiritual reflection and self-examination, “How was I doing? Was I producing Kingdom fruit? Was I going strong or slowing with age?” There was beauty in the blessed imagery of the old apple tree. A lesson I will not soon forget.
Jesus told the disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other” (John 15:16-17, NIV).
For Further Study
Other fruit illustrations can be found in John 15:1-17, Galatians 5:22-26. Read and meditate upon these passages. Take time to reflect on, “How is your fruit production?”
Father God, thank You for continually teaching me. I am humbled by Your constant presence and the knowledge You share through all creation.
Lord, make me like the old apple tree. Use me to the very end. Thank You for pruning me for greater production. I pray I will bear fruit until my final breath. The tree never quit doing what You created it for – producing apples. As my body ages and becomes frail I pray I will have the resilience of the tree to continue doing what You created me to do – to love others, to point people to Jesus Christ and to finish well.
Thank You for the power of the Holy Spirit who makes that possible. Thank You for providing the necessary faith to trust You, the Master Gardener. In the strong name of Jesus. Amen.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, respite foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About section if you want to learn more about my story.
Copyright © 2020 Musings of Manette Kay™ All rights reserved. Requests to the author and publisher, Manette Kay, for permission.
Apple blossom image by Heleen Harmsen from Pixabay.
Dying apple tree images by Manette Kay.