For his birthday, our son gave my husband a small apple tree about twenty years ago. Because of similar climate, the person who sold it recommended a green apple from Israel. We watched it grow, hoping it wouldn’t be too long before we had delicious apples to eat year round, since it should produce several different times. When apples started growing, our expectations grew – a bit longer and we could pick our own instead of buying them at the store.
Now my husband’s father had grown up the son of a farmer and had a large garden plus several kinds of fruit trees. He knew we had the tree since he lived right behind us, and he and my husband worked together. We knew he had two or more of every kind of plant he had.
For some reason, none of us thought about our apple tree needing a pollinator. It had sun and water, plenty of room to grow – apparently all it needed, except another pollinator because bees cross-pollinate them. The tree produced about 25 apples, after the birds and squirrels got their share, which I made into applesauce. Why didn’t we eat them? Because when ripe, they were the size of small plums!
After checking with the agricultural agent, I discovered apples must have a pollinator. We noticed the second year that the tree produced just a few tiny apples and only bore once instead of three or four times per year. Two trees will bear fruit; one is unsuccessful. Now the tree flowers but doesn’t produce.
I discovered this truth bears out in the Christian life as well. Believers do not do well by themselves. While we support and encourage each other, our Chief Pollinator is Jesus Christ. Very long without Him, and we don’t produce fruit either. I’d better check on my fruit!