GROWING UP, I spent my summers in the state of Washington. Now and then when my family would drive by the apple orchards, I would stare out the car window, amazed at the splendor of the trees. I was mesmerized by how enormous the orchards were and how perfectly the trees were aligned.
As I got older I realized this beauty was a sign of the labor put into the orchard. Each tree had to be watered, pruned, inspected for insects – and that is just the beginning. Off in the distance I could see younger trees maturing, getting ready one day to be harvested. While these trees were not bearing fruit, they were tended to with as much, if not more, attention, than the trees bearing fruit. I realized that none of this beauty, and especially none of the fruit, could occur without care, patience, and endurance. For neglected trees wither and eventually die.
Paul first speaks of “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23 and continues the metaphor again in Colossians. This image of fruitfulness is very appropriate. The gospel message is indeed a living, growing reality for those who receive it. It dwells with us, taking root and maturing as deeply as we care for it. As fruit bears seeds that then spread and germinate, we are able to share and spread the gospel with others so that they may bear fruit as well.
From the reading for July 9, 2010, by Dee Dee Azhikakath (that week’s theme: Are We As Faithful As We Think?), page 202 in The Upper Room Disciplines 2010: A Book of Daily Devotions. Copyright © 2009 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Where is the Spirit inviting you to spread the gospel? Share your thoughts.
“My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.”
Mark 5:23, NRSV
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This week we remember: Irenaeus (June 28).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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