Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Fruitful Story of Patience - by Linda Payne

Thanks to our friend Linda Payne for sharing this from her own experience.

Gal 5:22-23  (NKJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 

Having lived 20-plus years on a lot surrounded by woods, we were used to having the animals and plants from the woods become part of our yard sights.  We fought off weeds, including big crops of dandelions, and an abundance of insects which enjoy woody “country living.”  On the bright side we enjoyed the beauty of a few wild flowers and lots dogwood trees growing “free range” around the property.  We even tried transplanting a couple of small Dogwood trees in the front yard, sadly without success.

One day we noticed a nice-looking but mysterious one-stemmed plant growing up in the front yard.  Was it a weed?  Was it a sprig coming from a piece of root from one of the dogwood trees that didn’t make it?  Perhaps it was a beautiful wild bush that would be welcomed in our yard.  We decided it was probably just a hardy weed.  It was mowed down with the grass.  

In a couple of weeks it was there again, growing in the same spot as before.  It seems to be growing much faster this time as if it were trying to make some headway before being mowed down again.  Once again we questioned the quality of it. Weed? plant? bush?   Once again we decided on “weed” and mowed it down.

You guessed it!  It soon came back with a fury, growing rapidly.  Mowing it down had not stopped it.  Somehow, it looked more appealing this time with two stems and a smaller third one developing with it.  Out of curiosity, we decided to give it a chance to grow and see what it turned out to be.  As it grew bigger we were cautious and asked a friend, who knew more about plants than we did, to look at it.  She didn’t have a definite answer either, except to “watch it.” It might be a nice blooming bush or a tree, or it could turn out to be a big woody weed we would have to dig up. 

Over the months it grew quickly into a pretty young tree.  We decided to keep it.  After all it would provide some additional shade in the front yard.  We took care of it, pruning away the stray limb sprouts and cleaning around the base.  We made sure it had water in dry spells.  

The coming of its second spring brought beautiful delicate blooms.  We were delighted at its beauty.  A blooming tree can produce fruit, and sure enough it began that process.  Was it a seed pod, was it fruit, was it poisonous, or was it edible? And what kind of fruit was it?   

A friend told us he believed it was a plum tree.  While the fruit was very early in development, we cut a small limb with leaves and some of the green fruit on it, and we took it to the County Extension Agent for analysis.  In a few days we got a call saying that it was a plum tree and that the fruit was safe to eat! The original seed had probably been left there by a bird or an animal.  It was a “free-growing” plum tree. 

That spring the beautiful plum tree bore so many big, red, perfect plums that the limbs had to be supported in place by two ladders to keep the weight of the fruit from breaking them off.  We reaped a great harvest of plums for jelly, cobblers, juice, and just plain eating from the tree. We didn’t spray it or do anything special to it, but still it continued to row and bear big beautiful juicy plums.  They were worm-free and bug-free! We commented regularly that they were the most beautiful and perfect plums we had ever seen.

What a blessing to us and a beautiful act of nature that with patience we waited and watched to see what the plant would become, as we gave it time to develop.

Whenever I read Galatians 5:22-23 I am always reminded of that tree.  We develop the fruit of the Spirit over time; it doesn’t come in a snap of the fingers when we begin our Christian life.  I’m glad my family and friends have been patient with me, as I have been and still am in the process of developing the “Fruit of the Spirit” to completeness through the grace of God and the cleansing of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Let us all diligently use that part of the fruit of the Spirit called longsuffering (patience) with our family, friends, and our family of God knowing that we are all in different stages of development of our spiritual fruit.  With time and with God’s help we can have an abundant harvest of more mature fruit to use for him. Others will reap the benefits of seeing Christ in us and our actions, and we will have a more peaceful life.

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