Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Two Branches (Abiding)

One day, two branches were cut off of a tree and grafted into another tree known for its fruitfulness. This new tree spoke to the branches. “You are now a part of me and I am a part of you! My very life will flow through you and will produce fruit. You cannot bear this fruit by yourself - without me you can do nothing. Now, there will be seasons of dryness and unfruitfulness but there will also be seasons of great fruitfulness. If you simply remain here with me through it all, trusting that what I say is true, the fruit will be plentiful!

So the branches stayed with the tree but there were no immediate signs of fruit. The first branch grew restless and said, “I just can’t seem to figure out how to make this fruit thing happen.” But the second branch said, “I think I heard the tree say that we are to stay right here, and that his life will produce fruit through us.” But the first branch wasn’t convinced. “There’s got to be something wrong. Maybe we’re supposed to go and create our own fruit for the tree.” So off he went. The second branch had some doubts but yet she chose to remain right there with the tree. “I’m sure he said to stay here with him.”

Out on his journey, the first branch sought with great zeal to find a way to produce some good fruit for the tree. He tried everything imaginable (except what the tree had said) to try to be a productive branch. He also befriended some other plants who had uprooted themselves in search of purpose and fruitfulness. But none of them, being away from their life-sources and away from where they had been rooted and grafted, seemed to be able to make anything worthwhile happen.

Meanwhile, with great love and tenderness, the tree spoke often to the branches who had remained with him. “Be patient, branches. Wait. Don’t worry. Your ‘work’ is to trust me. I know you are eager to bear fruit, but don’t be tempted to go off and try to do it yourself, as some have done. This is my very own fruit. With just the right care and at just the right time, I will make it all work out just as I want it.” This comforted the second branch, and although she didn’t understand how it was all going to happen, she knew this was a safe place to be and she knew she was one of many who were also waiting and trusting.

Soon, the cold of winter set it. The first branch, who had gone off by himself, had missed what the tree said and he couldn’t figure out why he was failing so miserably. He sincerely wanted to please the tree with some beautiful fruit. So out there in the cold, far away from the tree, he struggled and strived all the harder to force himself to make something happen. He worked very hard, but in the end he only got very worn out and very discouraged.

The second branch, on the other hand, encouraged herself daily with the words of the tree. Wait. Be patient. Abide in me. Still, she wondered why it seemed so cold and why nothing seemed to be happening. How long would this take? But yet she and the other branches continued to encourage each other and remained confident that the tree knew what he was talking about and had a plan which he was fully capable of bringing to life.
One day, someone was gathering up twigs and branches for a fire. He came across the first branch, which by now was withered and dead. Into the fire went the branch, along with some nearby hay and straw.

Then, at long last springtime arrived. The branches on the tree had made it through the cold and barrenness, and the tree had kept them alive. But not only were they still alive, they noticed small buds beginning to grow on them! The buds grew, and large green leaves appeared. Before long, each branch which had simply trusted and remained with the tree had fresh, juicy, great tasting fruit growing on it. And they celebrated with great joy!

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John 6:28-29 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."

John 15:4-8 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Rom 7:4-6 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another — to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Rom 10:2-4 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Heb 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

(All verses NKJV)

8 comments:

  1. A great one! It is okay to have fruitless days right? The fact is that it is a preparation for bearing much fruit when the right season comes! Thats wonderful!

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  2. Yep indeed... Amen Bino! I wrote another article that addresses the seasons, called The Fertile Soil of Grace. When that article was published in the church magazine, they titled it "The Dormant Disciple," which sort of missed the overall point of the article (the fertile soil of grace), but yet at the same time did help me to make the point that we have natural seasons of dormancy and natural seasons of bearing fruit. Overall a natural growth process.

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  3. Hey Joel. When you get a chance, go to A Journey to Freedomand see what I just posted.

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  4. Thanks so much for sharing this on AJTF, Aida. Interestingly, this is just what I needed to hear today! As I re-read those words that I had written almost 3 1/2 years ago, I found that they were an answer to prayers that I had recently been praying, including just this morning. Amazing how Father works!

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  5. I didn't know if you were following this on AJTF but you got another comment. Since you wrote it, I thought you might want to respond yourself.

    It's amazing how years later, the word of truth is still having an impact in people's lives.

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  6. Thanks for pointing that out, Aida. One thing I keep forgetting to do on Ning sites is to click where it says "Follow." :)

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  7. That's okay. I've got to take care of my little brother.

    You can still click on "Follow" and it'll let you know of any other comments that are posted.

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  8. Thanks for taking care of me... I know I can always count on that!

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