Roses, clematis and hop vines climb intertwined over the rickety trellis, the flowers cascades downwards in an unruly fashion. Like a mop of unruly hair, these climbers need a regular trim to keep some semblance of order.
Last year I planted soft fruit trees, black and red currants, gooseberries and raspberries. They are new, young trees and this years produced only a small amount of fruit. They are growing tall and strong, but alas are producing only foliage, not fruit. I know that I need to take drastic action; cut back all that excess greenery to enable the plant’s energy to be directed into the production of fruit rather than foliage. If I continue to leave these little trees to their own devices they will continue to produce decorative leaves but no nourishing fruit. How like us they are. Without God in charge we are likely to produce only decorative greenery but little of substance with which to nourish others. We need God to prune whatever is only decorative from our lives in order for us to produce fruits of the spirit with which to sustain one another spiritually.
If I tend my little fruit trees well, water them, fasten them to strong stakes to prevent them being bent by gales, cover them with fleece in the winter as protection against the cold, and clip back those branches which are not fruitful they will bear fruit year on year into their maturity. As can we, if we allow ourselves to be watered, protected and pruned by God.
Whatever age we are, whatever stage we are at, whether we are young Christians or of mature age we are still able to bear fruit. As we age God doesn’t see old wood fit only for the bonfire. He sees an elderly branch still capable of bearing fruits of the spirit. We can be fruitful right up to the very last. God, in his wisdom, will only call us to eternal rest when our work for him is accomplished and we have added all the fruit he requires to his harvest. Isn’t that a wonderful thought?
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life.” Proverbs 11:30