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GOD'S OBSESSION WITH FRUIT
Friday, April 3, 2020 by Leona Choy

“Why not retire? After all, you're pushing 95.” I get that question a lot. I do have an answer: Because God obviously likes fruit. He seems obsessed with fruit. He's a loving fruit inspector. My encouragement-based writing and publishing have been a part of my fruit that I offer God. I write to please Him whether anyone buys or reads my books—although I hope they do!

In fact, God insists that we produce fruit during every season of life, in season and out of season. (Psalm 92:14) Advanced age is not an excuse. He keeps giving us life and gifts and opportunities to bear fruit for His glory that are age-appropriate. He has lovingly invested these in us and expects a return. God runs a “for-profit business” in partnership with His grown sons and daughters. We're expected to be good stewards.

In Jesus' parable of the landowner who planted and prepared a vineyard, the owner then committed its care to vine-growers. (Matthew 21:33, 34) At harvest-time he had every right to anticipate fruit from the vineyard. Likewise, God fully expects fruit from us.

Fruit bearing is not optional. If we don't bear the fruits of the Spirit in our personal lives and character (Galatians chapter 5), He cannot use us to do His works. If we produce scanty fruit, He prunes us so we will bear more. (John chapter 15) He is after an abundance. We older Christians are expected to be “full of sap and very green” (Psalm 92:14) not wilted or dried up. He is after a harvest of thirty-fold, sixty-fold, and a hundredfold especially from those to whom He has given long life and the most investment. We are the most accountable.

We can't attain salvation by doing good works. We enter heaven by God's grace alone, not by our own efforts. Nevertheless, throughout Scripture we are clearly told that God will judge us by our works. Our work is bearing fruit. God, who knows our inner spirit and our motives, will sort out our works at judgment time whether they have been combustible or indestructible as gold and silver and precious stones. (I Corinthians 3:11-13)

There are many kinds of spiritual fruit just as there is a variety of fruits and vegetables. God certainly doesn't expect everyone to write books. The Holy Spirit gives various gifts to build up His Body, the Church. We grow fruit. We are not expected to bear the same kind or quantity of fruit as someone else. Nor is being busy the same as bearing fruit, nor is it a substitute.

The wax or plastic fruit that we display for table decorations is neither palatable nor nourishing. It doesn't count with God. Neither is quantity the same as abundance. It is irrelevant how many books I've written. I'm not in competition with other fruit bearers.

As in Jesus' parable, God has committed one talent to some, two to others, and five to some. (Matthew 25:14) The one talent person is not held equally accountable for God's investment of five, but only for the one God gave him. The five-talented is accountable for bearing five times as much. “To whom much is given, of him shall much be required.” By “talent” in the context of this parable, Jesus was actually referring to money and not a gifting or “talent” as in a natural ability.

I want to be a responsible steward. I'm keen on giving the Lord a good return, aren't you? I welcome each new day as one more opportunity to put more spiritual fruit into a “virtual basket” to present to Him as a love gift. I certainly have nothing against retirement or rest. Both are good. Both have their place and time. But as long as God grants me an alert mind and creative ability and strength and earth-time—and before it becomes night when no one can work—I want to fill my “fruit basket” to overflowing, don't you?

That imaginary and invisible “basket” is an indestructible one because it contains fruit that God “preserves.” Jesus talked about “fruit that remains.” How does that work?

I send it on ahead. My spiritual fruit and your genuine fruit is the only kind that reaches heaven as its destination without rotting or spoiling. It can't be burned up or stolen en route. Here on earth we dry fruit or put it through a freeze-drying process, but that still has its limitations.

The accumulated spiritual fruit in my baskets offered to God through my many long years immediately reached God's storehouse or big freezer in the sky—or however the angels preserve spiritual things that don't take up space and need to last until the judgment. I don't keep track; I simply keep filling up more baskets with more fruit until I'm called to give account for my stewardship.


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