Friday, June 10, 2011

Bearing Fruit

This blog post is dedicated to Phil and Myriam Raber, the optometrist and dentist who lived in our house in the mid nineties and planted a dozen fruit-bearing trees all over the yard. While they lived in the house, the trees were young and didn't produce fruit, so they never enjoyed the fruit of their labor. By the time we moved into the "eye doc house" 15 years later, however, the trees were raining down fruit. We get pummeled by avocados in the fall, and oranges and grapefruit in the winter. The spring brings us hundreds of mangoes. There are coconut trees that give year-round joy to Rezimond, the teenager who washes our truck each week and gets a bonus coconut when he finishes. Just the other day, I picked cherries for Mme Eugene to take home for juicing, picked a papaya off a tree for a smoothie, and pulled a few plantains off the tree near the laundry line to use for supper. Every time I enjoy the fruit in our yard, I think of how little effort it took me, and how much effort Phil and Myriam put into it, and I thank them in my heart.

This reminds me of a passage in John chapter 4, verses 34 to 38. Jesus is talking to his disciples and tells them to look at the fields, because they are ready for harvest. He reminds them that they did not sow, but they are going to reap. "For in this the saying is true: One sows and another reaps. I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors." Every Tuesday, I prepare and give a short devotional to our patients who are waiting to be seen at the clinic. At the end of the gospel presentation, I ask anyone who would like to respond to the message of salvation to raise their hand. Very rarely, someone will respond. But more often than not, and especially in the past couple of months, the audience just sits there silently. Sometimes, I find myself getting discouraged and having a hard time finding the motivation to preach each Tuesday, when so few people respond. But then I remember this Scripture, and I remember Phil and Myriam Raber. Some people plant, and others sow. Perhaps at the clinic lately, I am a planter. People may not be ready to respond every day, but they still need to hear the good news that Jesus came and died to take away their sins. And hopefully, one day, after hearing the message several times, they will open their hearts and someone will get the chance to "reap"... to lead them to the Lord. I thank God I'm part of the process.