We have a tree. A kumquat tree. If you've never seen a kumquat tree it looks more like a tree/bush. Though it gets tall, it's still rather rounded like a bush and it grows kumquats, thus the name. A kumquat is small and round and orangish yellow. It's pretty sweet and the texture of the fruit is between a mango and a peach.
I always wanted a kumquat tree because growing up every house that we lived in had neighbors who had kumquat trees. We never did, but nonetheless, my brother and I spent many days trying to pick the fruit off the trees without getting caught. Not that the neigbors cared much, but there was excitement in the prospect of being "caught" so...like I said, I always wanted a kumquat tree.
Anyways, we planted this tree in our back yard two years ago and this year is the first year that it produced fruit. I was very excited about this tree when we first got it and I have been waiting for this season for a while now.
We spent an evening picking the fruit off the tree, and in the last few days my son and I have gone outside and picked a few more. It has been very exciting...as if we have discovered something new in our own back yard.
"Look at us, we have produced vegitation. We shall prosper and the next generation will be blessed."
Ok, maybe not so dramatic, but exciting nevertheless.
Yesterday, when we were out picking more fruit, it occured to me that this tree, though small and fairly young produced quite a bit of fruit. And then I began to think about how a tree produces all of this fruit yet, it is not the tree who enjoys it, but others who taste the sweet nectar and pulp - like birds and worms and little one and his mom.
Christ talks about seeds and trees and fruit alot and while I was thinking of my kumquat tree I started thinking about the fruit in my life. Those "Fruits of the Spirit" like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control (Galations 5:22). And it occured to me that though this fruit does benifit me, I don't produce this fruit for myself, but for others.
My spirit fruit is a tool for my ministy in this life that I can use to draw others to Christ. So many times we pray for these fruits and desire these fruits in our lives for our own sakes, but that is not what they are intended for.
So many times we pray for peace for ourselves, which is great, but think of how much more of an impact your life ministry has if you walk with the fruit of peace not just for yourself, but so that others around you, in your church, in your neighborhood, family and friends, will feel that peace, notice that peace and desire to be in your presence because of that peace that overflows in you.
Imagine the life ministry I can have if others are drawn to me because of the fruit of gentleness that exudes. Imagine the seeds that can be sown and the fruit that those seeds can produce because that gentleness inhabits mercy and encouragement.
Pray for these fruits to be overwhelming in your life, not just for your sake, but for those in your path.
Pray for patience - Not just so you can be a good parent, but so your children will see your gentle ways, your mercy and in that, patience will be sown in them. Pray for God's perfect timing and not your own.
Pray for faithfulness - for loyalty and devotion to who you are and what you believe in. Those of you at your jobs, whether you are at home with your kids or at an office, pray that you will be faithful and devoted to your values, to your family and to your God, so that when times of unsteadiness come, you will be steadfast and have courage so others will see the truth.
Pray for Love - Pray that you will learn to love as Christ loves us. You will not envy, but love. You will not do things for the praise and affection of others, but you will do them because you love. You will forgive because you love. You seek the truth because you love. You will hope and endure because you love (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
I encourage you to walk in the fruits of the spirit so others will desire to walk beside you and so the seeds of your fruit will spread to those your fruit impacts.