The air turns crisp. It's apple season here in Washington, which is known for its apples, of course. And for me, even from our measly three trees I pick them once, twice...okay, several times a day. I'm sooo thankful for the bumper crop we have this year, the branches too heavy laden Beve had to stake them twice to keep them from breaking off before they were ripe.
I'm a fair-weather fan when it comes to apples. I don't want a thing to do with them about three seasons of the year. Walk past them in the grocery store like I'm allergic to them. All those red delicious apples in my lunch box must have done it to me, I suppose. No offense to those of you who love and/farm red and yellow delicious apples, but from my point of view, they have neither the right texture or flavor and I'm sorry to say I may have thrown them away uneaten more than once when I was a child.
But this time of year when apples are crisp and juicy and weighing down our trees, they're calling my name. My taste buds. I can eat them morning, noon and night. So often in fact that my tongue has been known to get a bit raw just about the time the only apples left are those on the ground. By then, not only have we picked our own apples but we've been given them from others and have made apple pies, apple crisp, and enough apple butter to last...well at least until Christmas (we do go through it pretty fast and it doesn't keep like jam does).
As I'm munching (and wiping the juice from my chin and trying to keep it from my computer keys), I got to thinking about fruit and the glorious thing it is, about the blessing it is in season. John 15 is the best location in the gospels for thinking about fruit, and Galatians 5 is Paul's contributing description of the fruit.. But what does that add to those important 'fruit passages' if we consider that fruit--of any kind--is only produced when the time is right? There is a rhythm to the planting of a crop. Jesus speaks of this in other places when he is talking about our being part of Kingdom work--that one sows, another plants, and another reaps, but all are part of the harvest. In John 15 when He says, "Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in the vine." And, "Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing."
Isn't it possible, then, that there is a season of being in Christ before a person begins to bear fruit? I don't imply that this is always the case. Obviously there are times when a person comes to Christ the change is so great that their life is unrecognizable from what it was in the past. That person instantly begins to bear love, joy, peace, etc. as Paul describes fruit. However, sometimes I think we believers don't give time to our weaker brothers and sisters, don't allow for what surely can take Him several 'seasons' of developing that fruit within a person before "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control..." flow naturally. And sometimes it takes a very long time for that process. I can't tell you why this is. Honestly, I'm just thinking with you this morning. But I'm wondering. Because I've seen it happen in people around me. I've known people who claim to love Christ, who certainly do all the right things, but who don't seem to bear fruit from their branches. Then, years down the road--literally years in some cases--there it is. God has been working all along. And why it took longer is between that person and God, I have to say. But the season has come, the fruit is ripe, crisp and fragrant and sweet to see on the tree that is Him.
I could be wrong about this. As I say, I'm just wondering this morning. But somehow, as I toss the core of my apple to Kincade (our puppy likes apple cores, which amazes and delights us--Jamaica will have nothing to do with them), it makes a kind of sense to me in the natural order of things. His goal, of course, is that apple season comes.
"Taste and see that the Lord is good" in you, in me, in each of us.
Apples remind me this day...of what He has made me and what He is surely making of my life.