Sunday, August 21, 2016

Fruit Inspectors

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Matthew 7:16

My garden is small, so I don't grow many vining fruits or vegetables, but occasionally something comes from a seed that may have ended up in the compost pile. This year a moon and stars watermelon vine sprouted in among the pole beans.The yellow dots on the leaves and melon let me know the variety right away. 

I have a hard time judging when a melon is ripe. My daddy always thumped them. I never learned how to listen to a watermelon. Others say look for the tendrils to dry up. Others say it will slip easily from the vine.  Usually when I grow a watermelon, I pick it too soon. Produce managers in stores tell me to look for a yellow bottom. I wondered if that would hold true for this type of melon since it has yellow spots anyway. 

This melon and another grew all summer in my little bean patch. I was amazed at the size of both. I waited as long as I could. After weeks of inspection, I decided today was the day. I didn't see any tendrils. The bottom was yellowing. If I picked too early, at least there was one more to give some more time. 

I was surprised at how easily the thick stem came off the vine, no tugging or twisting. So far so good. It was really heavy, carrying it up the hill to the house. After wiping it clean, I took my largest and sharpest knife and began to cut. "Craaack!" The melon split! I could see the red meaty heart and juice was running on the counter top. I knew I had a winner. I finished cutting it open. My patience was rewarded with the sweet taste of a sun warmed, fresh from the garden, Moon and Stars watermelon. Sweet success. 

People are a lot like watermelons. Most people will say they are Christians, but we can't see their heart. The only way we can know, is by inspecting their fruit. Christians will allow themselves to be "split open". Their hearts show their love for Christ and others. Their goodness spills out wherever they go. Their kindness and compassion leave a "sweet taste" for those they have touched. They look just like everyone else, but their hearts show, not just tell, a different story. 

We should never shun those who talk the talk, but don't walk the walk. They may just be beginning to ripen. They may be confused themselves and still need salvation. As Christians, we need to demonstrate the love and compassion that will help weak Christians grow. We need to demonstrate true Christian love that will help deceived people see Christ in us. Others are inspecting us. 

In what way can we as Christians, demonstrate to others who are inspecting our fruits, that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life?  

Hey Kids:
It's that time of year for visits to orchards and pumpkin patches. 
Do you know how farmers can tell when to pick their crops? 
How do they know when apples are ripe? 
When are watermelons ready?
Are pumpkins always ripe when they turn orange? 
How do you know if a fruit is a winter squash or a gourd?

How about your own "fruits"?
Do your actions show that you know Jesus?
Are your friends Christians too, or do they need your love and kindness to show them the truth? 
Fall fruit is on the way.
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