Friday, September 16, 2011
Tending Our Gardens: Flowers, No Fruit
I have a little garden in my backyard. It’s a small plot of land that was ready to plant a vegetable garden in when we bought the house. I had never gardened before but when I saw that little plot of land in the back visions of tomatoes and cucumbers danced in my head.
The first year I planted tomato seeds I didn’t know what I was doing so I just planted a bunch of seeds and I had a bumper crop of tomatoes.
Last spring when we were planning our garden, buying seeds, plants and deciding what we wanted to grow, my then 8-year-old son asked if we could plant some pumpkin seeds. Now I have never grown pumpkins but I was willing to give it a try. We bought a package and planted the seeds. Before long, the green shoots of the pumpkin plant poked their head through the soil. Soon, long vines stretched out of the little barbed wire fence into the yard. Before I knew it, big beautiful flowers emerged from the pumpkin vine.
We were excited because our experience had taught us that the flower was the preliminary stage to the fruit. I also have an apple tree in my backyard and every spring it explodes into beautiful white flowers and then those flowers transform into little green apples. The yellow flowers on my tomato plants become red ripe tomatoes. So I was expecting these large orange flowers on the vine to become pumpkins.
Every day I would go out in the garden and look for signs that a pumpkin was on the way.
Eventually the flowers would shrivel up, but then new buds would emerge. But still—no pumpkins. The vines looked lush and green. The flowers were beautiful, but there was no fruit. October came-- the time I should have been harvesting our pumpkins. But all I had was the memory of the flowers. No fruit.
That is how our spiritual lives can be. Jesus is looking for fruit. All he is finding is flowers.
Jesus is looking for fruit or at least signs that fruit is coming, but all he is finding is flowers. He is looking at our churches where we meet every Sunday and some Wednesdays. He is looking for fruit. He expects fruit. He is looking for a harvest. Jesus wants to find some fruit, but all he sees are leaves and flowers. We look good. We might even smell good, but we aren’t producing fruit. We seem fruitful in appearance, but we’re barren in reality.
Every day he is looking at our lives. Every minute he is examining our hearts. He is looking for fruit.
Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
What is Jesus finding in your spiritual garden? Fruit or just flowers?
Next week: Tending Our Gardens: How to Grow Fruit