The Lord brought Abram outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then the Lord said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” (Genesis 15:5)
While our family’s roots in Iowa go back seven generations, in the last three generations, the Lord has repeatedly called us to southern Indiana and Ohio.
Just now, our son and his family live and work in south central Indiana and my husband and I were quite literally “called” to the Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, where I am blessed to serve as the pastor. So, it seemed the right time to sell a farm we had owned for many years in Iowa and buy a farm closer to our current homes in Indiana and Ohio.
Last summer, we bought a small farm in Camby, Indiana, which our son and his family manage for us. The farm had been owned by an elderly lady, who had been in poor health for some time.
Thus, many areas on the farm had received little attention in recent years. One such example was the apple orchard.
Twenty or 30 years before, the trees had been abundant with delicious fruit season after season. The particular variety of apple tree is especially well suited to the growing conditions and climate on the farm so that the harvest was bountiful.
However, time had passed and the trees had grown old. They had been allowed to go wild without proper pruning or receiving the special care that orchards require.
Our son decided to plant a new orchard, which would provide for the family for many years to come. Wisely, he started the new orchard by relying on the roots of the old orchard.
All of the strength of those old trees has gone into the proliferation of the new plantings that will populate the new orchard.
The new generation of apple trees will come directly from the old generation … quite literally.
Using air layering, our son was able to propagate the old apple trees. In this way the thin limbs sprouting from old tree trunks, which no longer produced fruit, can instead produce new trees, exactly like the ones that have thrived so well on the farm.
Fruit trees grown from seed can have different characteristics from the parent tree. Color, size, shape and taste of fruit can vary significantly.
Air layering is one way to produce young trees with the exact characteristics of the parent plant. Their descendants will endure and propagate from generation unto generation.
And Abram believed the Lord. (Genesis 15:6)
God promised the same continuation of a family line to Abram. As the descendants of Abraham, he promises the same to us. If we believe in Him and remain true to our roots of faith and service to God, He will bless us with descendants in the faith.
Long, long ago, Abram accepted God’s call to lead a new people, who would worship only the one true God. Abram became Abraham and as promised, his descendants have been many…as many as the stars in the heavens. All Abram had to do was believe.
The promise is as good today as it was so long ago. Believe in God with all of your heart and soul and more blessings will come to you than there are stars in the heavens. Again and again, we see how God produces new fruit from what had seemed barren limbs.
For with God there is always another season of bountiful harvest.
Debbie Linville is Pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Wilmington.