If You Were a Tree Branch...
The other day, while doing my morning devotion, I stumbled across the “red lettered” verses in John’s Gospel that talk about Jesus being the vine and his followers, that’d be us, being the branches (John 15:1-5). As I was pondering Jesus’ words, my mind began playing the “hypothetical game” with itself. Hypothetically speaking, if I were a tree branch what kind of branch would I want to be; a branch at the top or one of the branches somewhere toward the bottom of the tree? If you think about it, they both have their distinct advantages. It goes without saying that the view from top of the tree beats the bottom branch’s view hands down. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for the stable and secure life of a big and strong lower echelon branch.
But then I got to thinking about this dilemma in the context of Jesus’ mandate to bear fruit. With that in mind, have you ever noticed that the branch at the top never has any fruit on it? Like I mentioned, being at the top of the tree certainly has its perks; it has easy access to the stars in the heavens; it sees daily the breaking of dawn and from its perch on high the branch at the top never misses the setting sun’s orangey sky. Unlike its underlings below, the branch at the top is free to wave and dance in the breeze without a care in the world.
Nonetheless, if I were a branch, I think I’d rather be a branch near the bottom of the tree. You see, as a branch near the bottom I’d never be alone. Like my brother at the top, I too would see the heavenly stars and I too would experience daily the coolness of dusk and the warmth of the rising sun; it’s just that I’d witness the beauty of creation not by reaching up but by reaching out. As a bottom branch I’d experience the blessings of my existence in the company of my companions. While my friend at the top is teetering haplessly in the breeze, my companions and I down below would quietly sway in harmony with our surroundings forever and firmly attached to the Tree that gives us our life. So, if I had my druthers, at the bottom is where I’d be. And to be honest, I think I’d feel kind of sorry for the branch at the top. Its life on high offers no shade and receives none in return. What’s more, the top branch is too weak to provide a home for birds or bear fruit for the Gardener. Far from its life giving roots, the branch at the top knows only of itself and exists only for itself. In fact, the branch at the top thinks it is the tree.
That poor top branch. Too bad he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) hear Jesus when he said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
So there you have it. If asked what kind of branch I’d want to be, for me it’d be a no-brainer; I’d opt for a safe, stable, and secure place among the fruit bearers at the bottom. How about you?
Yours in Christ,
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