They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green. Psalm 92:14 ESV
As my Dad grew older he began to leave things behind. First, left his career and then his home town as he with my Step-mom Amy moved to Florida. As the years went by be began to lose friends and family members and then finally Amy; the love of his life. During the final years of Dad’s life he remained alone. We often suggested and even pleaded for him to come live with us, but Dad wanted to stay right where he was. While he may have begun to feel no longer useful to anyone, he actually became our family’s greatest treasure by the example of his gentle heart and steady faith.
Dad’s life reminded me of the apple orchards I used to prune every winter many years ago. Most people don’t realize it but young apple trees don’t give any fruit at all. It takes at least eight years before they can produce even a single apple. But the oldest, most scarred and misshapen trees are filled with fruit. Each December or January it is pruning time and we trim out the dead and diseased limbs as well as the useless sucker growth. Each of these things needed to be removed so that the strength of the trees can be given to the fruit. Those older trees spend a lifetime being cut back, cleaned out and shaped by pruning. That is why they can give all their energy to the fragrant blossoms that open in the spring, then to the tiny green apples that grow in summer and finally to the sweetness of the fruit right at harvest time. Those old trees will never win a beauty pageant, but it is by them that God has promised to give His sweetest fruit!