Go and Bear Fruit!
By Jonathan Weiss
With the arrival of cooler weather and a pseudo-Autumn here in Louisiana I find myself caught up in waves of nostalgia from my childhood. Chilly evenings around campfires, pumpkin patches along the highway, and apple picking in Amish country. A few weeks ago Kristen, Edmond and I were able to visit my family in Ohio and while there, we were not only able to relive some of those Autumn memories but make some new ones as a family.
Although we were not able to pick the apples we bought in Amish country, we did pick bushels and bushels of pears from the tree in my parent’s backyard, and spent a great deal of time making all things pear.
Throughout our pear fest, I found myself reflecting on the spiritual life and its relationship to picking fruit. Various Scriptures came to mind dealing with fruit. From the Old Testament, I thought of the river in Ezekiel 47 flowing faithfully allowing the trees along its banks to be laden with rich fruit. (Ez. 47:12) In the New Testament, Jesus speaks often using the analogy of bearing fruit (“Bear fruit that will remain” Jn 15:16), remaining connected to the vine (Jn 15:5), and knowing a tree by its fruit (“By their fruits you will know them” Mt. 7:16).
[pullquote3 align=”right” textColor=”#035f81″]I chose you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.[/pullquote3]As we picked the pears and later “picked” apples, I found myself reflecting on the fruit that my life is bearing. Am I connected to the tree that is Christ? Do others see me as a shell of a Christian with an interior that is rotting, or am I the fruit that you would want to gaze upon before consuming, thanking the Lord that this piece stayed on the tree long enough to ripen and sweeten.
The analogy of bearing fruit continued even after we left Ohio since my in-laws in Texas have just started to try their hand at growing fruit trees in their yard. The process they are trying is called Espalier in which you carefully groom the tree to grow along a set of wire lines so that it grows faster and bears fruit quicker. Watching them work I asked myself, “how passionate am I to bear fruit for the kingdom in this moment?” Am I invested in working diligently to grow, to convert, and be connected to the fountain of grace in Christ?
What is the fruit that you are bearing? Are you thriving spiritually or are you rotting from the inside laying on the ground of complacency?