Darrow Miller and Friends

A Human That Doesn’t Thrive is Like a Fruit Tree That Doesn’t Bear

  1. Nations in Disorder – From Where Shall Help Come?
  2. Why God’s Laws Are the Only Protection from Tyranny
  3. What the Most BEAUTIFUL PSALM Teaches About A Flourishing Life
  4. God’s PERFECT LAW: Hope for the Human Race
  5. ONE LAW That Revives the Soul
  6. Gaining Wisdom in a World of Folly
  7. Precepts: The Unlikely Path to Joy
  8. Find the COMMANDS that Give LIGHT
  9. The Intimate FEAR that Promotes a PURE LIFE
  11. A Human That Doesn’t Thrive is Like a Fruit Tree That Doesn’t Bear

human not flourishing like butterfly that can't flyImagine a butterfly with beautiful wings that couldn’t fly. A whale unable to dive. An otter that never learned to swim. In each, something important is missing, something related to the Designer’s intent.

If an orchard keeper finds an apple tree that looks beautiful but doesn’t bear fruit, he cuts it down! In fact, Jesus told a parable about that very scenario.

A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.  And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’  And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure.  Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” (Luke 13:6-9 ESV)

A fruit tree is made to bear fruit. When no fruit appears, the tree is useless. But an apple tree bearing fruit is a thing of beauty.

In his wonderful book, The Evidential Power of Beauty, Thomas Dubay elaborates on this.

Form is the deep root of a being’s actuality, which gives it its basic whatness. It is the actualizing principle of a thing, the mysterious taproot that makes that thing to be what it is, and thus why it is different from every other kind of being. The inner form (not first of all an outer shape) of a palm tree makes it different from an oak, a corn stalk, indeed, a squirrel—even though all are made of atoms.[1]

This is another way to say that any created thing flourishes according to its inherent nature and design. As Dubay says, “The splendor of a duck is limited to ‘duckness’ and that of an oak tree to ‘oakness.’”[2]

For something to flourish, it must function in accordance with its nature and design.

Naturally, the principle extends to the human race. If a human being is to flourish, he or she must discover the design with which the Creator formed the human, and pursue the purpose for which the Creator made the human. We are not here as accidents of long eons of evolution. We are not merely animals or super consumers. The human was made in the image of God. Our lives have meaning, our choices matter. Wisdom teaches us to function according to the Creator’s purpose.

Many people never learn to do this. As a result, their lives are marked by folly, never fulfilling their incredible God-given potential. In addition, their circle of friends and family miss the blessing of their flourishing. I (Darrow) know a very gifted painter who, for some hidden reason, has not painted for twenty years. I think of how many people have missed the joy of seeing all the paintings this person has not painted, and the pleasure God has missed in seeing this person not fulfilling all the potential of their gifting.

Wisdom is pictured in the blessing of humans—as well as butterflies, whales, and otters—functioning as God intended.

– From a forthcoming book by Darrow Miller and Gary Brumbelow.

[1] Thomas Dubay, The Evidential Power of Beauty (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999), 50.

[2] Ibid, 43.

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).