When a fruit tree grows it only reveals its true identity when the fruit is produced. Until that point it is simply a tree. The fruit starts small, and, as long as the tree stays connected to its roots, receiving the correct nutrients the fruit will continue to grow and mature until it is ready to eat.
We have an apple tree in our garden – we always try and eat the apples before they are ready – and it is never a good thing. They need to be left to get bigger and sweeten. We can taste the potential – we know they are going to be good – but they need to be left for a while.
If left alone, the tree will eventually drop the fruit – it will enrich the surrounding ground, but little else. Our apple tree usually produces more apples than we can pick, or eat (and the wasps usually have a few too), but many of them end up creating an ‘apple carpet’ at the bottom of our garden.
If a tree is properly cared for (we try, but gardening really isn’t our thing) the fruit is picked and consumed – others benefit from the goodness.
Notice that the tree itself doesn’t eat the fruit – it is for the benefit of others.
So it is with the Spirit filled Christian. Attached, plumbed in to the nutrients of the Word, local church and Holy Spirit, the fruit that only comes from Holy Spirit begins to develop. Young at first, we will quickly mature and produce good fruit.
But just like the fruit tree the fruit isn’t for our consumption.
Being connected to people I think is really important – otherwise the fruit we are producing goes to waste. How can we demonstrate the fruit of kindness and gentleness if there is no one around to be kind and gentle to?
Don’t let it fall to the ground, ‘uneaten’, stay connected to the source, produce fruit, and lots of it, and sweeten the community you are a part of.