Cultivate Disciples for Fruit that Won't Spoil
Peaches are one of my favorite fruits. Every summer, make a pilgrimage to a mountain orchard for one of the world's best BBQ sandwiches and a giant bag of peaches.
A few weeks ago, as we paid for our peaches, the lady at the counter warned her not to keep them in the bag because they would quickly rot. Her warning was a reminder of a sad reality of good fruit. It won't last forever.
We were in a race against rot. Over the next few days, we ate peaches like Jeff Gordon drove NASCAR. We went through a couple of gallons of vanilla ice cream covered in peaches.
Peaches make ice cream more healthy, right?
But there was only so much we could do. Inevitably, as the prophetic woman at the orchard predicted, the last few began to spoil. We had to throw them away. Vanilla ice cream lost a great friend.
Imagine for a moment, a magical alternative offered by the lady at the orchard. What if we had approached the checkout counter, and heard these words, "That's a lot of peaches. You'll need to eat them quickly. But there is a new variety of peaches in that bin over there that won't go bad. You can enjoy them from now until next summer."
We would have immediately exchanged the peaches doomed to spoil for the forever fruit. Wouldn't you?
Jesus said something of His people that cannot be said for peaches. He has appointed us to bear fruit that won't spoil.
This forever fruit is the gospel received into the soil of our soul, given time and truth, cultivated by brotherly love and sacrifice, springing forth into an orchard of abundant life.
What we cannot do for peaches, Christ can do for people. He can preserve them.
Because I so enjoy the peaches from this particular orchard, I ate the fruit, but I kept some of the seeds. I planted one of them into a pot of good soil. It will soon germinate. Once it breaks through, I will dedicate myself to nurturing it with fertilizer and water. I will eventually give it more space and more soil so its roots can expand.
It will be several years, but I have no doubt that the power to grow into a fruit-bearing tree is already in the seed. All I can do is work the soil.
Jesus has called on us to repent of sin and have faith in Him in response to the gospel. He also called for us to sow the seed of the gospel into the soil of other souls. He has called for us to cultivate disciples in much the same way the keeper of an orchard cultivates fruit-bearing trees.
Share Christ with others, but don't leave them. Cultivate them in discipleship.
Bible Study and Challenge:
Read John 15:12-17.
- Make a list of commands Jesus gives us to obey.
- Make a list of promises Jesus gives us to believe.
- How does this passage call for you to praise Jesus?
Pray for and look for someone to befriend with whom you can share your relationship with Christ. Notice that in John 15:15 Jesus says that he revealed his relationship with his father to them. Remember, when he makes this statement, he had been with them 3 years. Discipleship is not a quick fix. It is the cultivation of the gospel and a relationship with Christ in a person's life. Begin a relationship of discipleship with the person to whom God leads you.