It’s summer time. The strawberries are ripening and thrush and robin barge the queue for the cherries on the trees. In their abundance these seeded delights seem to call out ‘Are you bearing fruit too?’ echoing Christ’s words to his disciples in John 15. ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.’
A plant, if it is to thrive needs to grow its roots deep into the nutrient rich soil in which it has been planted. And that soil will nourish and strengthen it to become the fully blossomed beauty that it was meant by God to become. The man or woman of faith is like the plant. As a plant yearns for water, minerals, oxygen, light and sugar, we, in our right mind, yearn for the Word and Spirit of God. And as a plant yields its fruit in season, we can hope to live out lives of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control as our Father does His gardening.
A newly planted dwarf cherry tree requires a surprising amount of water each day to keep it growing. Great care was taken when we planted ours that a suitably deep hole was dug, that it was wide enough for the roots to arrange themselves comfortably and that the soil was the best we could afford. It was then lovingly watered and we hired someone to continue the job while we were away. The result? Cherries. Lots and lots of big, beautiful, fat, juicy cherries.
My bible sits on my kitchen table daily but I don’t take care nearly as much as I could to ensure that my plant, the life I’ve been given, is daily nurtured and saturated in its riches. So it is no surprise that irritability and impatience are more in evidence than the fruit that God desires. If I am to grow, I cannot afford this summer to neglect my spiritual garden; and I can’t hire anyone to do the job for me either.
The believer will not grow by roaming around looking for his food as an animal does. Our food is always right in front of us, found in exactly the same place every mealtime. ‘So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.’ Colossians 2:6
So as I prepare for a feast of summer reading, I hope I’ll be wise enough to keep feeding on His Word.