Fruit

We have two fruit trees in our back garden, a plum and a pear tree.  Both have produced an abundant crop this  year, a crop unlike any of the other 8-10 years they have been planted.

For me the plum tree represents spiritual fruit and the pear tree financial fruit.  Don’t ask me why, I think it may be the Lord teaching me some prophetic lessons.

The fruit of the plum tree is super abundant.  It is hard to imagine how such a small tree can produce so many plums.  There must be at least a thousand plums on the tree.

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Over the last few Sundays we have brought a lot of the plums to the church we attend where they were eagerly devoured in a matter of minutes.  Olive also made a couple of plum tarts for the family which we all enjoyed.  During the weeks of the harvest I have been eating a couple of plums a day, the rest of the family have been eating some as well.

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However a lot of the fruit is not as sweet as we would like it to be.  It’s quality is not great and we seem to remember that in other years the fruit tasted better even though there was much less of it.

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During the months leading up to the harvest we neglected the tree.  One day when I did get out to look at it late in the season before the fruit was ripe, I noticed that the tree was utterly infested with greenfly.  The leaves were curling and some branches had grown with no fruit but totally covered with greenfly.  I took away the worst infested of these.  This action seemed to improve the situation later.

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Nevertheless the fruit kept coming.  In the end a lot of it fell off the tree and was inedible as soon as it was on the ground for any length of time.  Slugs and other less visible insects quickly spoil the fruit.  Some of it shriveled on the tree and never fully ripened, others were attacked by wasps and spiders while still on the tree.

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At various stages I was torn as to whether to harvest the plums off the tree or not.  We didn’t seem to get enough sun and the plums didn’t seem ready to fall off the tree.

As I said I imagine this is a spiritual picture of what can happen if we neglect the spiritual fruit of our lives or allow sin to take over.  The results can be mixed.  Much of the fruit is good and useful but a lot is lost through neglect, disease and demon interference.


The pear tree has also produced a lot of fruit.  There must have been about 100 pears.

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In contrast with the plums this fruit is almost perfect.  We have lost a couple to windfall but on the whole we have been very successful in harvesting and using them.

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We brought some to the church, made cakes out of others and I and the family have been having one each per day for the last few weeks.  The cakes didn’t last long.


Fruit is a seasonal phenomenon.  Based on how little or how much attention we pay during the earlier parts of the year, and on the weather, next autumn there could be more or there might be very little fruit on the trees.  Professional fruit growers seem to know how to produce a large, high quality fruit harvest on trees year after year though I think even they are at the mercy of the weather.  It takes God’s favour, and a farmer’s skill, nurturing and time to create a consistently abundant, high quality harvest.

How is your fruit?

Significance

I was watching a documentary about the Voyager space missions called “The Farthest” last week.

For those who don’t know, the Voyager space missions took advantage of a rare planetary alignment to launch two space probes to explore the outer planets of the solar system.  The missions started in the ’70’s and both probes are still transmitting back information to earth.

After watching the documentary and listening to the scientists and engineers who worked on the project, my overwhelming impression was one of pathetic insignificance.  This is epitomized in a documentary by Carl Sagan who presented the speck of dust – the pale blue dot picture that was taken by Voyager 2 from somewhere beyond Neptune.  Earth is seen as a barely perceptible speck in the brightest of the bands in the photo.

 

Many of the scientists talked during the documentary of how significant it was that mankind had managed to send a vehicle into outer interstellar space for the first time.  But no, this is not Star Trek, not even close.

 

 


So I wake up for a morning’s quiet time with God.

“God I’m nothing.

Less than nothing.

We are all less than nothing.

Why do you bother?”

Then my sin – my falling short – pops up its ugly head again.

Like a fleshy root or fungal growth out of my flesh, like Alien it is too powerful for me.  It looms large in my imagination, overwhelming me, threatening to completely take over my life and destroy it, me, my family and destroy Christ’s reputation in work, church, friends.

Whoa, stop, back up, it really is no more significant than I am.  It’s also pathetic.

 


Then I hear a voice gently calling my name:

“Brendan”

“Yes, that’s pathetic little me” I think.

 

“Brendan”

Ok…

“Brendan”

……

Is that really the God of the universe calling my name?

“Brendan, I am LOVE, that’s why

And then it all comes rushing back.

God is infinite powerful love.

He cares about me, us, everything.

 

One day He will put me to sleep and remove this sin that so easily entangles me maybe on my last mortal day, maybe before then.

In the meantime there are good works to do which He has prepared beforehand.  Works that He cares about, works that give us significance.

What a wonder it is to be called a child of God!