You and I were made to bear fruit. For the Christian, our "fruit" is changed lives…our own, and others. Yet some believers' lives are "barren" for long stretches of time, bearing no fruit at all.
Author James Michener was raised on a farm. He recalls from his childhood that a neighboring farmer raised apples. One day, young Michener was passing by his orchards and witnessed a strange thing: the neighbor was driving nails in some of the trees that were not bearing fruit. He watched in curiosity as this farmer approached a barren tree and drove four large, rusty nails into the base of the tree, north, south, east and west. Then he moved higher on the trunk of the same tree and repeated the process. When Michener questioned the neighbor, he told the boy, "Just wait until next spring. You'll understand it then." When spring rolled around, Michener said that apple tree produced the biggest, reddest apples he had ever seen. The farmer said, "You see, those rusty nails remind the tree that it was made to produce apples. Sometimes it forgets."
Some of us need a jolt to remember that we were made to produce good fruit for the kingdom of God. And sometimes pain or hardship is the "nail" that reminds us. You'd be surprised at how many of us bloom and bear fruit in places where we once felt the sting of a nail.
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