by Ken Rolheiser
Fruit cocktail and bearing fruit that will last

A sweet seven year old showed her grandfather a small tomato plant she had started from seed in a second-grade school project. She explained that from one tiny seed would come a plant which would grow many tomatoes that would each have many seeds.

“And if all of those seeds were planted and grew more tomatoes, and you planted all of those seeds, in a few seasons you would have millions of tomatoes. All,” she said in amazement, “from one little seed.”

Then she said, “I almost killed my plant. I left it in a dark room and forgot to water it. When I remembered the plant, it was all wilted and dead looking. I cried because I thought of all of those millions of tomatoes that would never grow.”

“Momma said maybe the plant wasn’t dead. Maybe all it needed was some water and some light to bring life back. And she was right… It came back to life, and now it’s going to grow millions of tomatoes!” (from “This Is My Work and Glory” by Elder M. Russell Ballard)

What great joy the little girl experienced with her success. What a biblical metaphor it suggests.

A Chilean gardener has cultivated an award-winning tree that grows apricots, plums, cherries, peaches and nectarines. Some call it the “fruit cocktail” tree. The process involves grafting branches from different species, but it is the tree’s sap that flows through all the limbs.

“If you think about it, this isn’t all that different from the way the Lord is grafting his own spiritual fruits into your heart.” (from The Word Among Us October 2016)

To expand the comparison still further, in a sermon “Bearing Much fruit” Bob Ashcroft cited statistics of church closures in America and spiritual apathy. He explained that a secular study projected that by the year 2050 Christianity will be so obscure that it will have absolutely no effect on the moral and ethical condition of America.

Check your experience of church and worship to see how true this statement is. How important is the future of faith and church life to you? To your children?

In notes on his reflection on John 15:1-17, Ashcroft noted the following points:
"Jesus is the vine; He is our source. He is the true vine… We are the branches.

“A branch has no life by itself. The branches are many, growing all over the place but all connected to the same vine. He is the center of our unity… Though the Earth is the Lord’s, it bears no fruit unless He works it.

“God not only has the propriety but also the care of the vine and branches. His eye is upon every branch. He watches over them that nothing will harm them. He prunes them. Never was a vinedresser so watchful of His field as the Lord does the church. This is why we must prosper.

"We must bear fruit – It is not optional. As we expect grapes from a vine, so does Jesus expect spiritual fruit from a Christian.

“Fruit is pleasant food for the vinedresser. Fruit provides food for a seed to grow. Fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.”

“Love is a fruit in season at all times,
and within the reach of every hand.” Mother Teresa

(563 words)