Bountiful Harvest

We just picked our first ever bucket of homegrown peaches! While this may not sound like anything special to most, for us, it was cause for a bit of rejoicing because we’ve been trying to get fruit from our three trees ever since we planted them over five years ago! It’s actually turned out to be harder to successfully grow peaches than we ever thought.

100_6201In all the previous seasons, we’d have plenty of blossoms and lots of fuzzy little baby peaches that were so full of bright promise… that is, until they got to be about the size of a nickel. Then insect infestation and/or fungus would invade and eventually destroy all the fruit long before we could pick anything.

This year, I was determined to do whatever it took to help our trees produce. So back in February, Clif headed off to the local nursery for advice and tips.  After consulting a couple of different experts, a few websites, and even calling a local garden care radio talk show, he worked out a definitive tree care regiment using several different products.

100_6205What he and I learned is that these trees need special care throughout their whole fruiting cycle; blooming, budding, and periodically as the peach gets bigger, all the way up to harvest. It took a lot of work and diligence on the front end, but it seems to have finally paid off in ripe sweet and juicy peaches.

While it has definitely been worth the effort, I have to admit that what I really wanted was for us to plant the trees out back and then casually visit our mini orchard every summer to pick luscious fruit without any effort at all.

But, that’s not the way it is with peaches.

It doesn’t work that way with spiritual fruit either.

Make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. ~ 2 Peter 1:5-6

I was listening to the radio on the way home when a country crooner belted out and unexpected line ….  “We cuss on them Mondays and pray on them Sundays.” As I was changing the station, it occurred to me that a whole lot of Christians live their lives just like that lyric from the song. They go to church faithfully, but what they hear has little effect on the way they live their lives the rest of the week, and all the while they wonder why they make the same mistakes, struggle with the same sins and see no real changes in their lives.

100_6202It’s because most believers have the same attitude about their lives as I did about my peaches. We want all the fruit with none of the work.

But in the above verses, Peter exhorts us to “make every effort” to add all these virtues to our lives. And “effort” requires, well, effort.  We have to work at it… diligently, faithfully and with perseverance to see these attitudes develop.

Now let me remind you that it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to produce spiritual fruit.  We can’t make it grow any more than I could do anything to force our tree make blossoms and peaches, but through persistence, patience and good old-fashioned hard work, I was definitely able to create a hospitable environment which encouraged fruitfulness.

And spiritually speaking, you can too.

By making daily lifestyle choices, (choosing what to look at, what to think about, where to go or not go, what to say or not say etc) you can create an environment in which the Spirit can grow within you the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” (Heb 12:11) that benefits you and invites others to “taste and see that the Lord is good! (Ps 34:8)

But … remember, harvest time isn’t the end. After the trees complete their fruiting in a month or so, we’ll have to start cultivating next year’s crop by pruning in the cold season, and being careful about pest and fungus control before the first bud appears next spring. But one thing is always true. The amount and quality of fruit the tree bears is always a reflection of the attention given in the pre-season.

So how about you? Are you caring for your ‘tree’ so that you can continue to see a bountiful harvest of righteousness?

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11 thoughts on “Bountiful Harvest

  1. The title of your posting is what first caught my attention. The reason being is I was trying to figure out how in the world I was going to afford fresh fruits and vegetables for most meals so I could feed my family healthier foods. This had been bugging me for a bit when one night I was on a website looking at a recipe and in the comment section someone mentioned bountiful baskets as where they get their produce from. A mental nudge had me on the website and low and behold they serviced my area.

    Reading your post I seen that a lot of what you said applied to me in this area. I looked and noticed that they had a delivery day, time and location and you only had a 20 minute window to get there and get what you bought or they donated it to the local fire department. I was like ” yeah I dont like that it is easier for me to just go to the store when it suits me”. it was at that moment I thought that, that a thought popped into my head ” are you really that lazy that you would rather spend more than you can afford then get good food at a price you can”. That thought humbled me because it was then that I realized the Lord lead me to just what I needed yet I was being too lazy to grab a hold of what he was offering me.

    So often the Lord is offering us the bounty of his blessings. We are just to lazy to meet him half way to get it. We want all the blessings given to us with no real work on our parts. Your post is a great reminder that nothing worth having is going to come without some effort on our parts, the job, the house, friendships and even our commitment to God.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience! I wonder how many times we’ve all done the same thing… asking for God’s blessing but trying to stipulate when, where, how and under what circumstances we want to receive it. thanks Antoinette!

  2. Hi Karen! Your hard work has yielded a fruitful harvest. Those peaches are looking so tasteful! And I absolutely love the spiritual application you’ve tied with it. We are encouraged not to become weary in our walk with the Lord so that we can reap a bounty harvest. Thanks for your insight! Blessings and more!

    Shade

    1. They are really juicy and delish! Just made peach and toasted walnut pancakes this morning and peach pie is on the menu for tonight! If only all you kind brothers and sisters were close enough to share! But… how wonderful that we aren’t limited in sharing spiritual fruit from our lives with people everywhere though! Thanks for your encouragement!

  3. Karen, This is powerful. I love the analogy. “The amount and quality of fruit the tree bears is always a reflection of the attention given in the pre-season.” One needs to meditate on this and take action. Thanks. Oh – and I love peaches – I’m originally from Georgia and South Carolina. Georgia is the “peach” state by my SC grandmother always told me that SC should be the peach state instead. SC is the palmetto state. 🙂 Blessings, Amy

    1. That’s always the problem… being foresighted enough to prepare ahead of time.

      and yes, South Carolina is the largest producer of peaches in the south. Georgia actually grows more peanuts than peaches, but the “the Peanut State” doesn’t quite have the same ring! Ha! thanks for commenting Amy & Rachel!

  4. Your peaches are perfectly beautiful! My tree is perhaps 25 years old. Is that the reason we only have five peaches on our tree this year? Should peach trees be replaced with age?

    1. Hey Kathleen. It’s likely your peach tree at 25 years old is very close to the end of it’s fruiting life. A tree is generally considered old at 18-20ish years, and from what we’ve learned, they don’t produce very well after that time. So if you want to have a peach tree with good production, I’d probably say you need to get you one or two young trees and plant nearby. You might be able to get a few off your older tree while your young ones get going. thanks for reading!

  5. AMEN. I have done it right and I have done it wrong so I know the difference. We cannot expect to be in a real relationship with God if we expect Him to do everything. There is no real relationship unless both sides are invested. We see Him work more when we step out and do some work as well. The fruit of obedience is blessing and as you said, that is not a seasonal thing! The “peaceable fruit of righteousness” is an enormous blessing.

    1. “There is no real relationship unless both sides are invested.” I like that! Very true. God sent Jesus on our behalf to prove He’s 100% invested. It’s we who have to put forth the effort to live out our commitment to Him. And the really cool thing is that when we choose to obey, He steps in to then give us the power to follow through! Thanks for the good thoughts!

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