18 months ago I planted a brand new apple tree- a sapling. For me that little tree represented hope for a better future, for as you know my son was in jail and my daughter was 750 miles away in a drug and behavioral treatment program.
Last Spring I was thrilled to see eight tiny Fuji apples begin to form. As the apples grew larger those little tiny branches began to bend and sag under the weight of the fruit. I went out each and every morning to monitor that little tree and one morning I saw that one of the branches had split, but was not yet completely broken. I wrapped that little branch's wound and then I used garden tape to wrap all the tiny branches together in such a way that they were clinging to one another and then they as a group were clinging to the trunk (which was still small, but sturdy!).
Do you know that all eight of those tiny apples grew into huge, delicious apples. I thought of the church and how we all need to support one another in order to produce the best possible fruit. If we - the body - are not there to support all the other branches then the fruit bearing branches will eventually break under the weight of that fruit. The same can be said of our work place, our neighborhood, our family, and our circle of friends. As the branches get stronger they have the responsibility of supporting the new, smaller branches.
I am so excited to report that this year that little tree has about 30 apples growing on it's still frail branches. The branch that had suffered a split last year has healed. Because the tree is still young, all the branches will once again have to cling to one another so all 30 apples will grow to maturity as I expect to share and eat them all! :):)