We have a little peach tree in our garden. It is still small and only has a thin trunk and delicate branches. It bloomed for the first time last year. This spring, it was decorated with pink blossoms once again. When I looked carefully at it after it had bloomed, to my surprise I discovered four furry green fruit buds that were nearly as large as hazelnuts. From then on, I kept a close watch on my little peaches.
I soon made a strange discovery: one of the furry buds grew and was soon the size of a walnut, but the other three remained as they were. Worried, I monitored those three little “siblings.” No, they did not want to grow but remained as they were, and one day they dried up and fell off. Only the first peach developed healthily and normally. With time, it became large and round and had a beautiful, red, velvety appearance, until finally, one autumn day I picked it and brought it to the basement to finish ripening.
My four little peaches became a parable to me. Don’t we as humans often observe something similar? People may have experienced something internally – perhaps at an evangelistic meeting. You notice there is new life there, and the fruit bud is clearly identifiable. But what use is this tiny fruit bud if healthy growth is lacking? It depends on growth. A standstill leads to decline in one’s spiritual life. Obstacles to growth come in many forms: career ambitions, the stress at work, striving for material goods as well as lifestyle, and habits that you don’t want to give up. – The “sap supply” is disrupted; the fruit does not develop normally. It remains tiny and meager, and one day it falls off.
Then you stand there sadly and think: You dear one, you were once there, you had once made a good start, and the fruit bud was clearly identifiable. And now? Nothing remains of it. You cannot produce any fruit.