We inherited an apple tree on our new property. Let me tell you, this tree didn’t underproduce! It had hundreds of apples on it. We have eaten them raw, grilled them stuffed with brown sugar and ice cream, made applesauce and apple pie… cider anyone?
Some of those apples were really easy to pick. Hanging on the lower branches of the tree, it was a simple act to walk around the tree and grab them. We filled up that first crate in a matter of moments.
But some of that fruit we had to really work hard to get at it. I had to use a 12 foot ladder to reach the top, and those apples in the middle of the tree, and fairly high up, were the toughest of all to get. I got poked in the eye by branches, chased by bees upset over losing their food source, and scratched up legs because I was foolish enough to harvest in a pair of shorts. But it was worth it! Those apples are delicious!
Jesus said… “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV It might be silly, but I was thinking of this verse as I was picking those apples. I really want to produce abundant fruit like that apple tree in my life for Jesus.
You know, some of the fruit in my life is easy to see. It’s like those apples hanging on the lower branches of the tree — but it occurs to me that the most meaningful fruit in my life might not be as easy to measure. You know, the inner-heart stuff. The Apostle Paul called it The Fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… these might not be as measurable as leading someone to Jesus, or teaching a Sunday School class… but if you think about it, they should effect every single part of our life. Really this fruit is all about life-change. Producing spiritual fruit in our lives isn’t always easy, sometimes we really have to work at it — and sometimes the Father must do a little pruning… but it is always good!