It was August fourteen years ago when I first saw it. I was mowing grass. We had a couple of apple trees in our back yard. They had borne no fruit the previous year, but things were different this year. I saw so many apples growing that I almost couldn’t believe it. Then I saw a tiny branch about three feet up the trunk of the tree nearest to our bedroom window. It was about 1/8 of an inch in diameter and no more than 15 inches long. There were only a couple of leaves on it. But there, to my great surprise, was a single apple growing. It was immense in comparison to the branch.
I have thought of that sight many times since. Jesus, of course, told His disciples that they were branches (of the Vine, not an apple tree– John 15).
The little branch I saw was typical of those I generally clip off my trees with the exception that it was bearing fruit. That tiny branch was good for nothing else. It wasn’t pretty. It didn’t have enough substance for firewood. Left to itself, it was a mere twig. Yet here it was bending nearly to the breaking point under the weight of its own fruit.
Jesus said that apart from Him we can do nothing fruitful. But as we live in Him, we find that we bear much fruit. We don’t choose the fruit we bear. He does. We may be mere ugly, little twigs, but in union with our Lord, amazing things can be accomplished.
Remember the setting in which Jesus called the disciples “branches?” Those twelve men were a lot like us. They were selfish, childish, and petty men looking to make a big score. Even after Jesus had worked with them for over three years, they were slow to learn. They would soon desert Him in fear for their own lives. But all of this was the pruning process. Later, those same disciples were noted by the local authorities to have been with Jesus. The fruit produced by God in their lives involved an evangelized world. Amazing! Such a harvest from such ugly, little twigs!
To this day God goes on choosing the weak, foolish, lowly, despised nothings to produce a rich spiritual harvest. He does this to get glory for Himself. Sometimes we are unfavorably compared with others who have more pizzaz. We become discontented with who we are. May God grant us the patience to remain in the vine…to stay at our post…to endure the pruning…to wait …until in His own good time the inevitable occurs. He will get glory for Himself thru us, if we learn the lesson of the apple tree branch.