So, big news. Something is growing and growing well in the backyard of possibly the most inept gardeners known to horticulture. Well, I at least speak for myself there.
Nonetheless, Alycia and I are very much excited for our little peach tree is bearing fruit. That’s right, not merely leaves….fruit…that you can actually eat. For some reason, I feel proud of it.
The other day, I was out in the yard marvelling at the masses of organic produce bursting forth from it and I could not help thinking about how much the Bible uses the metaphor of fruit in relation to the Spiritual life and our connection with Jesus. Jesus indeed said that apart from him we can bear no fruit.
As my mind wandered down this track I wondered if God was revealing a few things about spiritual fruit through my experience of our little peach tree. I thought I’d share these with you.
1.You have to wait.
I never knew that you had to wait several seasons before fruit trees produced fruit. I assumed that if you plant a peach tree in reasonably good ground, kept it watered and gave it sun it would produce….peaches. That’s what it’s there for right? But apparently it is not that simple. It’s taken three seasons of putting up with nothing but green leaves and flowers before it has developed fruit.
I mean, it’s looked great, but actually had no fruit until it had run through the cycles of summer, autumn, winter and spring a few times.
This made me wonder; “perhaps there were seasons earlier in my walk with God when I thought i was looking pretty darn spiritual, but were producing virtually zero fruit.” Maybe, you cannot really bear any spiritual fruit until you’ve known the experience of having to traverse several seasons with God first?
2. The tall, middle bit died.
The tallest middle thingy in the picture is now a dead twig. The lower branches around it have long since overtaken it. I find it interesting that before it could produce fruit, it had to do a little dying. But not just any part, but what used to be the tallest and most prominent part of it. Not any more it’s not.
There’s a heap of things in my life that I wanted to be really prominent before the eyes of everyone else. But Jesus essentially says, “Yep, that bit you’re most proud of, that’s the bit that has to die.” “Moreover, when it does, everyone is going to see that it is dead.” Again, you can’t be concerned about how things look and bear fruit at the same time.
The bit that used to make it look more like a tree, was actually in the end fruitless. The new growth at the very bottom ended up overtaking it and bearing the fruit. There’s no shortcuts in the Spiritual life.
3. It needed shelter.
More than simply fruit, it has also really taken off in growth. It’s all of a sudden extremely healthy. The main reason for this is that the little peppermint saplings in the picture along the fence-line are actually now about 6.5 to 7 meters tall.
They provide two thing to our little peach tree: shade from the hottest sun and shelter from the most ferocious winds. We live in Dawesville, barely a kilometre form the ocean. When the south-west afternoon wind comes in, it does so with vengeance. This tree used to get utterly battered by this wind but now that the peppi’s have grown and shelter it, it’s able to get on with the job of growing.
Are you wanting to bear good fruit but are unwilling to come under the shelter of another? Good luck with that. Church is the place where we can bear fruit because there are older and wiser disciples there to shelter us. They do this through mentoring us, praying for us and just plain loving us when we are really ‘un-lovely’. Get yourself some ‘spiritual’ shelter, be fruitful.
So there you go, the parable of our peach tree.