Fruit or Foliage?

The majestic Hendersonville, North Carolina mountains beckoned my friends and I last weekend. The air was fresh; the breeze was crisp; the sun was glorious; the fellowship was easy. We awakened all excited to visit Sky Top Orchard. We were going on an apple-picking adventure. So many lessons came to my heart on that beautiful orchard about bearing fruit or foliage.

Friends Bearing FruitIMG956157-1 IMG_1768 We pulled into the gravel parking lot and my heart beat quickened.  Acres of you-pick apples, jugs of fresh apple cider, and fun hay rides– all waiting for us.

The orchard was brimming with huge apple trees, as far as your eye could see–Granny, Fuji, Jonathan, Mutsu and others…some kinds of apples I had never even heard of. Rows and rows of them, apples just hanging off the branches. It was amazing.  I climbed to the top of one of the apple trees, teeming with ripened fruit. All I had to do was barely shake the tree limb, and the apples fell effortlessly to the ground. The life application came to mind immediately…

How many of us have driven hours upon hours to the mountains of North Carolina or even flown to the Northeast in the autumn to spend a weekend “leaf looking”? The majestic transformation of the leaves in the mountains or in the Northeast is a sight to behold–for a few weeks. It is amazing to think that this beauty only lasts a mere three weeks or so. Then the leaves fall from the trees, withering and dying on the ground, crunching beneath our feet.

As I climbed down from the apple tree to pick up the buckets of apples on the ground, it occurred to me how fun yet full of hard work truly bearing fruit is. Flashy foliage is so appealing from a distance. Unlike the absolute majesty of “leaf looking,” would you make a special trip to see an apple tree ready to harvest? To see apples hanging on the limbs juicy and ripe, enough to feed a family sustainably for days, weeks, or years if needed? Sadly, the answer may be an under-the-breath “no.”

If you’re like me, at some point you may have started off doing a service for God, only to slack off in just a few weeks and get tired. I confess to you that in my past, some flashy foliage resulted instead of long-time sustainable fruit for God. Bearing fruit for Jesus Christ to better God’s Kingdom is exciting, yet not a glamorous job.

“‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit…This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples….You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last.“–John 15:5-8, 16. NIV

May we all take a trip to our own heart’s orchard, knowing we are called to bear much fruit for Jesus. The message is that simple, is that hard. Let’s roll up our sleeves, delve into God’s Word daily, work diligently for the Lord and bear much fruit.

Editor’s Note: Thank you, Patti Lesslie, Lee Warlick, Sarah Lerner, and Renee Konieczny for bearing fruit with me. I love y’all! Photo Credit: Thank you, Renee Konieczny! You are a precious friend and amazing artist.

Reflect:

–What are your plans to bear more fruit? Please comment.

–How can you encourage the “flashy foliage” bearers in your life? Please comment.

Renew:

–“‘ Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.'” –Matthew 7:15-20 NIV

–“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” –Galatians 5:22 NIV

Recharge:

–“If Christ, the heavenly Vine, has taken the believer as a branch, then He has pledged Himself, in the very nature of things, to supply the sap and spirit and nourishment to make it bring forth fruit…The soul need but have one care—to abide closely, fully, wholly. He will give the fruit. He works all that is needed to make the believer a blessing.” –Andrew Murray

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  1. Love this as always!! Can’t wait to see you!! Love you my precious friend!!

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