When I was very young, we lived in a house where there were several apple trees and a plum tree in our yard. I really loved those apple trees. One of them had a limb that curved in a way to make a perfect seat for a little girl. I loved the fragrant smell of the apple blossoms, loved to eat the child-sized apples and picked pailfuls of apples so my mom could make her delicious apple pies.
Then there was the plum tree...
While I did like plums, I did not like the plum tree very much. First of all, since there was only one plum tree, it was hit and miss as to whether we would get any plums that year. Unlike the apple trees which regularly produced fruit each year, the plum tree was unpredictable. It might bear fruit but then again, it might not.
Then there was another thing about that plum tree. The smooth bark of the apple trees were friendly to the bare feet of a little girl. The low thick limbs invited you to climb up and sit for awhile in the cool shade of it's branches and munch apples. The plum tree on the other hand had very rough bark which hurt your hands and feet. My friends and I preferred the more friendly and giving apple trees.
Some Christians are like the plum tree. We may produce fruit and when we do, it may even be good but it is sporadic as opposed to being consistent. Instead of being gentle and inviting to the "tender-footed babes in Christ" as well as others, we are rough and harsh.
Others are like the apple tree. Not only do they consistently provide good fruit but they are a source of comfort, refreshment, enjoyment and shelter for others.
In all honesty, there are times in my life when I am more like a plum tree than an apple tree...
In the second epistle of Peter it says:
We have been gloriously saved by grace. We believe and have faith in Jesus Christ. However, this is not the end. It is only the beginning. We need to supplement our faith with moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brother affection and love. This is how we continue to grow as Christians. This is how we draw others to want to come to know Him. This is how we are to live!
Do these things save us? No but tell me, why would anyone who has been transformed by the love of God not want to do these things? We say that we are a child of God but the way we live our lives proves it.
Blessings on you for you have found a truth that many a disciple has not discovered. We need to grow in faith and produce fruit, fruit that remains. The enemy has caused many a stunted tree from growing and of becoming royal priests in the service of God
[b]K.[/b] This is a wonderful story! Engaging, full of pleasant imagery, and replete with a powerful "spiritual lesson." It really makes me want to become more like the apple trees and less like the plum.