Harvest Time

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

Now that we have retired to Florida, I miss seeing the leaves change, feeling a nip of frost in the air and finding fresh apple cider at the market in September. While I was working I spent several decades pruning apple trees during the winter and then watching in delight as they blossomed in May, started forming little green apples in June and standing ready for harvest in September. Then harvesters began arriving and worked through mid-October. The orchards were ready for them with special housing set aside for those workers, many of whom came every year. They picked the old classics like Macintosh and Cortland as well as newly minted favorites like Honey Crisp. Even the trees are all different. Some are tall, needing ladders to reach the sweet fruit far up in the crown, while dwarf varieties can be picked with both feet firmly on the ground. But no matter what variety of apple, or what kind of tree they are picked from, they all share one thing in common. Their fruit is picked and sent to people who wait eagerly to bake them into pies or put into them into bowls on their kitchen tables. Only wild trees stand unattended and unpicked, yet even these provide their harvest for deer, rabbits and squirrels. No one picks apples and then dumps them under the trees as fertilizer.

Yet that is often what we Christians think we should do. We are God’s orchard because He has planted us (all different varieties). In winter He has pruned us and in Springtime sent rain. In summer His sunshine has helped us grow, then at harvest we are given the privilege to bear the fruit of His Spirit. But we see baskets filled with love, joy peace, and patience, thinking, “Hooray! It’s all for me!” We show up for church, raise our hands and sing joyfully. Then we sweep out the doors, soaking in the peace of God’s Spirit. But is there an apple or two of kindness left for the waitress who is slow with our lunch? Can we share a piece of joy filled pie with a crabby relative or pour a glass of the fresh pressed cider of patience for a neighbor who has an opposing political view? Is God’s sweet fruit only for us or are we ready to load our bushel baskets filled with goodness and mercy and head to the marketplace to share them with our hungry world?

Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels.com

Bearing Fruit

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7‭-‬8 ESV

A tree in a commercial orchard is as pampered as any king or queen on planet earth. It is planted in the best soil, fertilized and kept free from weeds. In the growing season it is sprayed and treated every 10 days to guard it from pests and disease and irrigated in drought. Yet with all the advantages the farmer gives it, there are years when the harvest fails because of a late frost, an unexpected new disease or a late snowfall. Ultimately the farmer may do his best but only God is really in charge of the results.

The same is true in our lives. As today’s verse tells us, our fruitfulness is dependent on only one thing. We must decide to trust the Lord. Unexpected events and even calamity strike without notice. But God is never taken by surprise. Are you trusting in His care? Is He the stream your soul drinks from? Is He the keeper of your heart?

Lemon Time Again

Well today was the first day of lemon picking. I hear they say that if life gives you lemons -make lemonade. Check…done that and nothing is sweeter. So maybe the next step as the harvest comes in is to share some with the neighbors.

In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you! 1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV