This has been a good year for the two apple trees in our garden. There are plenty of good-sized fruit. We have fed and watered the trees over the summer and we followed the advice of the TV gardeners and thinned the tiny fruit as they were forming so that we would get a good number of large apples rather than hundreds of tiny ones – and it worked! This is in contrast to last year when the trees bore a single blossom and no fruit. There is something hugely satisfying in harvesting a crop of fruit or vegetables that we have grown ourselves.
The Bible is full of images and promises of fruitfulness from Genesis to Revelation. In Psalm 1, we read that people who avoid wrongdoing and delight in the words of God “will be like a tree planted by the streams of water, that produces its fruit in season”. In chapter 15 of John’s gospel, Jesus talks of himself and his followers together as a fruitful vine: Jesus himself is the vine and his followers are the branches which bear the fruit.
What is the fruit that we should be bearing? In his letter to the Galatian church, Paul tells us that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control”. This is fruit that it would be great to see more of in our world today. If we will accept Jesus as our Saviour and Lord then this is the fruit that we can expect to see – even if that is very different from our past or present experience. The greatest joy comes not in seeing this fruit in our own lives but in the lives of others around us.
I have had the privilege of seeing a number of people come to faith in Jesus Christ and of seeing something of the change that it has made in their lives. The fruit of changed lives is much more satisfying than a crop of apples.
Take a moment to reflect on the fruit that you are bearing in your own life and that of those around you. And ask Jesus to help you to be ever more fruitful.