Branching Out Isn’t Always What It’s Cracked Up to Be

April 30, 2021  •   Tracy Earl Welliver

under a canopy of trees

“That’s a really beautiful tree branch. Man, would you look at the bark on that thing? The others are real duds, but that low-hanging branch has really got it all together.”

I’ve never heard anyone say this. Maybe I just need to hang out with more arborists, but I can’t recall ever hearing someone admire the particular beauty of a single branch. When someone comments on a tree, it’s usually the whole tree — perhaps a visual element of it, like the color of the leaves or its height. But people don’t usually zero in on one branch.

Maybe that’s because usually, if one branch is looking a little weak, chances are every other branch is, too.

The Bible tells us that when we bear fruit as good everyday stewards, it is for the Father’s glory. We are the branch on His magnificent tree. What we have is from Him, and what we do likewise points back to Him. We also tend to reflect how well the other branches around us are incorporating the nutrients coming their way. That’s all fine and good in theory. In practice, it can be an arduous exercise in humility.

When I do something virtuous or charitable or kind, there is a part of me that wants to stand out for it. I think that’s true for all of us. We’ve given of ourselves in some way or overcome some human temptation to accomplish a little bit of good in this world, and even though we know God sees us, we’d really love for everyone else to see it, too.

It’s a struggle, for sure. But we need to remember that our fruit belongs to the whole tree.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

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