The signs of maturing fruit
By QuaWanna Bannarbie
The pollen forecast is high this week. I drove to Elephant’s Fork Elementary School on Wednesday, and nearly every vehicle in the parking lot was covered in yellow dust. As I was walking to the front door, it appeared the ground had a slight gold tinge to it. I know we don’t like the pollen, but I have to admit I love what comes with it — the blossoms and then the fruit.
When I was a young girl, my grandmother had several plum trees in her backyard. She also had a few blackberry bushes. My sisters and I loved that we could help ourselves to a sweet treat whenever we found a ripe berry or plum to pick. School afternoons were times for fruit inspections, as we were eager to see how many pieces of fruit we could gather for ourselves.
I realized in reviewing some of my past content that I tend to write a lot about fruit. Perhaps it is because these events in my childhood impressed upon me much more than just a means to fill my belly on a spring day. I have nurtured fruit in a garden and watched it grow and ripen. Fruit symbolizes so much about living and the meaning of life. We are commanded to be fruitful in Genesis 1:28. It reads, “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…” This scripture encourages us to be productive. But we miss it if we think that God’s fruit inspection is all about the tangible items we produce in this life, like offspring and crafts.
Recently, I attended the Going Beyond Simulcast presented by Priscilla Shirer with fellow attendees at Covenant Community Church. Priscilla used the biblical text from Galatians 5:22-23 as her main reference for the day’s teaching. The Amplified Bible states these verses this way:
“But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Of all the things she stated in that simulcast, one thing stood out to me. She said, “God is after fruit from your life. He made you for fruit.” I immediately imagined God was walking around me as I used to walk around Grandma Fannie’s plum trees looking for the ripe fruit that was in reach for me to pick. I had to ask myself, can God find any mature fruit on this branch?
We don’t grow fruit trees just to see them bloom in spring and turn green in summer. Fruit trees should bear fruit. The actual maturing into edible status constitutes a successful fruit-bearing season. I believe it is the same with our existence. God’s purpose for giving us life is not just so we can bloom and look pretty. He creates seasons in our lives that will bear those spiritual delectables listed in Galatians. Priscilla Shirer made this clear to me in her teaching. As I was listening to her, I could point to much in my life that I can see God, the vinedresser, using to produce the fruit of the Spirit.
When my children keep pushing those buttons, God is ripening fruit. When I have been waiting for something to happen that I have been praying to happen for so long, God is ripening fruit. If I need opportunities to laugh at myself, God is ripening fruit. In the same way that pollen is beneficial just as much as it is irritating, God is using some irritation in our lives to mature fruit.
QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of Nonprofit Leadership and Management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.