“And he said to the vinedresser, “‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'” (Luke 13:7-9 ESV)
We have two apple trees planted at the end of our small lawn in the partial shade of a large fir situated in the adjacent garden. The soil is clay, and the trees have struggled with my pruning and their situation.
This is the fifth year that they have flowered and the first in which there has been an over-abundance of fruit — so abundant that I thought it exceptional. In my little world, it seemed as if God were giving me a living example of how trees grow underground, gaining roots and strength, so that they may grow and bear fruit, even in a hostile environment.
I have tended the fruit, removed aphids, and trimmed the new growth to give the trees every chance of maturing the fruit to ripe apples. I wanted the best possible outcome of fruit. Despite my best efforts of watering and rainfall, quite a number of the fruit have fallen off, and the guinea pigs have taken advantage of their windfalls.
It made me ponder.
As time has passed, I have dropped some of the blessings of my youth — fruits, if you will. Nevertheless, through this time of maturing, my roots have still been growing in Him. Now, what remains in me by grace is nurtured by the Holy Spirit to become more substantial.
I am mindful that still there are pests and dangers that can ruin and devour the fruit. By His touch and being rooted in His Word, I want to allow Him in to keep them clean and well watered.
We know that where we have been planted is where He wants us to bear fruit, because He is the Good Gardener, and we can trust Him. Sometimes, we are planted to bloom in a place only for a season or for a specific purpose, and when that has passed, it is time to move on.
So if you are troubled and hard-pressed by life today, remember that the Good Gardener wishes you to bear fruit in the right place, at the right time, and He will do everything necessary for us to make it possible.
Prayer: Lord, You are the Great Sustainer, provider of all that is needed to gain eternal life and bring forth good fruit. Please tend and refresh us today, that we may be pleasing to Your eye and Your purposes for us, in and through the name of Jesus. Amen.