IS A FRUIT TREE THAT BEARS NO FRUIT STILL USEFUL?
When, in better times, I was a married man with a family, and good credit and money to spend, my wife and I bought a house. The house had many positive amenities, including a great room and a living room, a formal dining room, country Kitchen, 2 bathrooms, a heated attached garage, a deck, and a big fenced in back yard.
One of the things that I particularly liked about the house was that in the back yard, there was a young Apple tree. Not a sapling. More mature than that. I thought, "Wow! We can have fresh apples for free!"
But the summer came and went and the tree produced no apples. None.
"Oh well", I thought. "Next year for sure."
But the next summer came and went and still no apples. What a bummer!
Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from this apple tree that doesn't bear apples.
Matthew 3:10 says, "The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."
But should we cast the tree away without doing whatever we can to help it produce fruit? Shouldn't the fruit tree be given every opportunity to bear fruit eventually?
What if, after all our efforts, it still bears no fruit? Is it then useless to us? It still has leaves. It still gives cooling shade. It has beauty. It still gives us some pleasure to look upon. It has wood. It can still be used as fuel for a fire, which can warm us and give us comfort.
Above all, the question I would ask is this:
If an apple tree doesn't produce apples, is it still an apple tree? And if not, what is it?