The Fruit of My Labors

When you plant an apple tree, you are anticipating a harvest of apples at some future date.  You'll do certain things to ensure that this happens.  You'll dig a hole the right size, you'll add good things to the soil, you'll fertilize at the right times and in the the right amounts, you'll water at appropriate intervals, you'll prune and you'll watch to see the progress of your tree.  Then one day, you'll reap a harvest.

This can be used as an analogy for other activities as well.  For example, if you want a fresh baked loaf of bread, you'll gather flour, water, yeast and salt at a minimum and combine them in the right ratios, you'll mix and knead and let rise, you'll bake for the right amount of time. In the end, you'll reap a lovely browned perfectly baked loaf.  You'd never expect to get bread from combining sausage and onions.  You know that you have to add the right ingredients for the right outcome.

Character is the same way.

I recently came across this verse in my bible study time. 

For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit,  for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn-bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:43-45

In particular, the last part of this passage grabbed my attention. The person produces based on what he has stored up in his heart.  Now, this verse may seem to be simplistic on first reading.  The reader may be inclined to think this is a black and white thing and that a person only produces good or evil.  I don't think that is the case at all, people are capable of producing both good and evil in the same moment.  But the thing that is important is that you will only produce what you have stored up.

Not only that, but in order to produce it, you had to first plant it and cultivate it, tend it and nurture it and finally, gather it and store it in order to ultimately produce something. 

So if I am producing patience, love, respect for people or a servants heart it is because I have planted and cultivated these things.  If I'm producing impatience, anxiety, anger, disdain, laziness etc, it is because I've planted, cultivated and am now harvesting these things.

So here is my job, I need to be a fruit inspector.  I need to evaluate what I am storing and what I am producing and recognizing how and when I planted for that particular harvest.  I then need to decide if my field should be plowed up and replanted or nurtured and tended for the next harvest.

The truth is that you and I ARE producing something.  We are never completely out of production, so WHAT is it that we are producing?

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