I love fruit. That might come as a bit of a surprise, based on my other eating habits – I’m not a big fan of most vegetables or of weird combinations of normal food. I’m the last person you would ever classify as a “foodie.” You could say that I have an immature palate; I’m more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy. But I do love fruit! This most likely goes back to my heritage on my mom’s side. She grew up on a cherry farm in northern Michigan which also boasted apples, peaches, and grapes. As a kid, I can remember spending summer vacations going back to the farm and “helping” the pickers harvest the sweet and sour cherries. I’m certain I did a lot more eating than picking! I have loved all things fruit since my earliest recollections of peach cobbler, cherry soup, and apple pie.
I was reminded of this on Sunday as the church our family attends began a new series on stewardship, with an emphasis on fruit. From the parable of the sower, the goal of sowing seed in good soil was that it would produce fruit, “thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold” (Mark 4:20). Having lived the majority of my life in Indiana, I understand this – fields of corn and soy beans can be found around just about every corner! In the parable, the sower, the seed, and the soil all combine to have a significant impact on the amount of fruit that was produced.
That certainly makes sense from a farming perspective, but I had not seriously considered that fruit is also the goal in how I steward all that God has entrusted to me. Fruit, in this context, is important from three perspectives: intrapersonal, interpersonal, and cultural. As I view my own life, am I developing the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23)? Am I growing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Additionally, do I see fruit from the relationships I have and am developing? Are my friends and family growing in their love for Christ as a result of interacting with me? Finally, is there transformation and healing in the world as a result of my life? Is there more light, and less dark, because of how I steward my life? “Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit.” (Col. 1:10)
Yesterday I heard from a good friend of mine from high school days. His mom is hours from going home to heaven. Having lost my mom over 20 years ago, I know that is a very difficult experience. But I was also encouraged as I reflected on the fruit of our friendship. As teens struggling in our relationship with God, we sought to encourage and help each other to grow in our faith and love for Jesus Christ. Now, years later, we both are able to see the fruit of sowing good seed in good soil – great marriages, Godly children with wonderful spouses who are making a difference in the world, and, of course, grandkids!
I love fruit!
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