I lead a pretty active lifestyle, between weight training, running, coaching, and the fact that I have five kids spanning ages between 17-years old to 5-months old. With such an active lifestyle I find that I feel hungry a lot, due in large part to the amount of calories I need just to sustain my energy levels throughout the day. One of my favorite foods to eat right now is a “Granny Smith” apple covered in natural peanut butter, and though I know that the peanut butter negates most of the healthy eating factor, that combination tastes incredible together!
The other day I was in my kitchen quartering out the apple as I have done literally hundreds of times before; slicing the whole in half, cutting out the center with the seeds, and cutting the halves into quarters, only this time I stopped as my attention was drawn to the seeds in the center. Now I didn’t give it much thought at first, but later that afternoon, while driving in my car, the thought crossed my mind, “I can know how many seeds one apple produces by cutting it open and counting the seeds, but is it possible to know how many apples one seed can produce?” A funny thought, for sure, but the message behind my easily distracted mind is a great one.
In the gospel of Luke, Jesus says, “43 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44 A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” (Lk. 6:43-45/NLT)
Jesus’ words have stirred in my head and heart since considering the seeds in my apple. What kind of fruit am I producing? Is it evident in my life? Is the fruit that I’m producing beneficial for others or is it useless, even harmful? And, am I producing fruit or am I simply living life as an apple full of seeds?
To be an apple full of seeds is to have a life filled with potential but what you do with how you live your life determines the kind of impact you can have when it comes to planting seeds in life. If we simply live life without the hope or desire of ever building into others, we are nothing more than an apple with a limited shelf life and limited to what we can do in life. On the other hand, if we are intentional about living life at our core and planting seeds in this life, our value becomes infinitely greater.
Here is what I have come to believe. Each one of us has the potential and ability to reproduce our lives in others as symbolized by the apple and it’s seeds. There are things in our core that we have to offer those in our spheres of influence – experiences, gifts, talents, time, and more. Though we may have the ability to plant seeds and bear fruit, it isn’t something that just happens. It has to be done on purpose, with purpose, and for a purpose. Unfortunately, potential without putting it into practice is pointless. In other words, all of the potential in the world without intentional action behind it will never amount to all that it could be, and that is pointless.
Something else I’ve been considering is the apple itself. I personally choose to eat “Granny Smith” apples because of their size, their taste, their texture, their crunchiness, and because of how juicy they are. They look amazing on the outside and certainly don’t disappoint on the inside. On the other-hand, there are apples out there that you couldn’t pay me to eat; the kind of apples that are squishy, tasteless, full of worm holes, small, dry, and that leave a funky aftertaste. If the words of Jesus were referring to you and I as apples, what kind of apple would our lives represent? Are we an apple that people look forward to or does the way we live our life leave much to be desired?
Each one of our lives bears fruit. Every last one of us lives in a way that determines what type of fruit lies within us. And our fruit is either going to be good for others and for reproducing or we will be limited in our usefulness. The choice is ours.
As you consider the type of fruit your life bears and it’s impact in this world, remember that God has given you the abilities and he provides the opportunities for you to plant seeds into the lives of others, in our community, at work, at home, at school, and at times in the least likely of places. It’s up to us to be open and willing to investing our time, our treasure and our talents in hopes of bearing good fruit in others.
Remember, you can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you will never know the number of apples that have come from one seed.
Be the seed!