“Look at that fruitless pear tree,” he said to me. He has pointed those little trees out to me before, and each time I’ve wondered why in the world a tree would be called a fruit tree, but produce no fruit?  What’s that all about?

I decided to investigate.

Fruitless pear trees have showy blooms and color but no fruit production.  They are low maintenance, so they pop up all over in urban and home landscapes.  They are shallow-rooted and can grow most anywhere, in any soil.  Again, this makes them a popular choice for landscapes. A few can produce fruit, but they are inconsequential – and eaten by birds!  These trees do not have a strong branch structure so are susceptible to wind and strong rain.  In fact, those types of storms may knock them down!

But their white flowers are so pretty!

Reading further, it’s found that they don’t pollinate with themselves, which is why no fruit is produced, but they do pollinate everything else and cause thorny thickets that choke out the life of stately trees that we DO want! And they stink!

I had no idea!

It’s hard to get rid of a fruitless pear tree.  It’s a battle and can take up to two years to win the battle with their root systems.

I don’t need to really write much and tell you how this story of the fruitless pear relates when we compare it to a fruitless life.  But I’ll write my thoughts anyway, just in case…

Some say, as Christians, that we are content to just love God and be. We don’t want to be bothered with all of that fruit-producing talk about being an influencer out there to the ones that don’t know Jesus.  We don’t really want to work on our grudges and bitter hearts and stinky ways. We’d rather wallow in grace like a pig in mud, and then sit in the sun and bask…in the dirt.  We are perfectly fine with presenting to others around us a pretty picture of kindness and love, when it’s convenient. And we love the accolades from those looking at us when they observe our “showy flowers.”

But I’m thinking that because we were created as His offspring and made to bear fruit, that unless we actually are bearing fruit, we’re a stinky addition to the landscape around us!  We’re shallow, easily toppled by storms and a prey to pecking birds.


I’m thinking about the fruitless pear this year and looking at my own showy flowers to see if I’ve succumbed to settling for the show, or if I’m cultivating for the produce. 

It’s a sobering thought, that fruitless pear tree…and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to resemble one. So I’m thinking a little digging might be in order for the year of 2020…

Sour Milk & Broken Globes
Redefining Friendship
All the Lights
by Marcy Lytle

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