No One is Useless: Tale of a Misfit Tree

Many of God’s greatest and most productive servants were seen as misfits in the eyes of the world, and sometimes even on the church.

Do you sometimes feel like a misfit or useless? Or even worse, think of others as such? What a shame it is when we overlook those we see as unimportant. Or judge them without even really knowing their story. Just as many did with the poor widow who put all she had into the temple offering.

She seemed insignificant, perhaps poorly dressed and a little run down. A bit of misfit. No one important, not one to notice. But the Lord saw her, and because he sees below the surface, was pleased by her act. Whether serving quietly in their own little corner or carrying out great works reaching multitudes, each service and everyone person counts to him. As the following simple story illustrates.

The Tale of the Misfit Tree

Seeing a tree growing somewhat irregular in a very neat orchard,” said a certain Mr. Flavel, “I told the owner it was a pity that that tree should stand there, and that if it were mine I would root it up, and thereby reduce the orchard to an exact uniformity.”

But the farmer replied, that he regarded the fruit more than the form, and that its irregularity was abundantly outweighed by that more considerable advantage. “This tree, which you would root up, has yielded me more fruit than many of those trees which have nothing else to recommend them but their regular situation.”

“I could not,” added Mr. Flavel, “but yield to the reason of this answer, and wished it had been spoken so loudly that all who demand conformity and uniformity in the Lord’s orchard had heard it. For they would root up many hundreds of the best learners simply because they don’t stand in exact order with others who outwardly conform – but yield less fruit.

Such, alas, is the prejudice of our minds, that we are too prone to condemn those who do not view things exactly as we do. We lay down plans and rules for ourselves, and then blame others if they do not follow them. Too often also are we mistaken in our opinions of others, and imagine that they are only taking up space, when probably they bring forth the fruits of righteousness in greater abundance than ourselves!

[Based on a story by W. Buck from The Biblical Illustrator; in the Public Domain.]

So let’s not chop the Lord’s fruit trees down – no matter how different they may be from us – but try to see the beauty and value of their uniqueness!

Don’t judge “the misfits” – many of God’s greatest and most productive servants were seen as misfits in the eyes of the world, and sometimes even of the church.

Make my joy full, by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; doing nothing through rivalry or conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself.

Philippians 2:2-3 WEB

Image credits: Orchard | Apples.

14 replies on “No One is Useless: Tale of a Misfit Tree”

From many decades of pruning ancient apple trees in winter I can tell you that not only is their fruit abundant, but that these old geezers of the orchard bear varieties long forgotten and yet sweeter than the pretty new names in the supermarket!


This is an outstanding illustration–in a day and age where we tend to cancel out what we don’t like or agree with. Not just ideas, but people. Our hearts are so limited in vision and grace that we lack eyes to see! Thank you for this gift of insight. Well said.


You hit the nail on the head again, Dayle, as usual! I hadn’t really related this to the cancel culture that is so prevalent these days. But it definitely fits. May the Lord indeed enlarge our vision and hearts. Every single person has value. Great value!! Thanks, my friend!

Liked by 1 person

Thank you – this is a very important thing to remember. I was recently judging someone at my church, thinking that they were shallow, and then found out that they pray for others everyday at their workplace. “God opposes the arrogant but gives grace to the humble.”


Thank YOU, for this example. I’m afraid we do this far more often than we are even aware of. May God help us to be more conscious of our attitudes and help us to transform them through his word!! Be blessed.


Ha, that’s a good one, Shari. Never thought about it before, but I guess I probably do that sometimes too. Yet all the Lord really calls us to do is to be faithful right where he’s planted us, and to do what he puts across our path. And he is pleased with any service, large or small, if done wholeheartedly! Be blessed.

Liked by 1 person

So well said and should bring many of us under conviction for judging a person who may appear to be idle! None of us knows with certainty what call the Lord has on someone’s life and I think from scripture it seems clear He is more interested in the heart and what is not done for public consumption than those who seek to be known for their ministry! Well done, my friends!!

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