Our two pear trees blessed us abundantly with excellent fruit this year. Since pears spoil quickly after they ripen, I was feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed by our blessing. (I hate to waste anything.) We can only eat so many pears, and there is only a small window in which to eat them fresh or to preserve them for future eating. Even then, my family and I can only eat so many, so I gave buckets and buckets of fruit away to neighbors, family, and friends.
On occasion, I questioned why I had wanted pear trees. Certainly, I hadn’t known how much work they would be during the harvest season. They are relatively easy to care for otherwise. As I peeled, I wondered if we could make pear cider. Yes, I was feeling desperate. Yet, now that the work is done, I feel satisfied with what is set aside to enjoy over the next year before the trees bear another crop.
When the thought of cutting down perfectly fine fruit trees crossed my mind, I reprimanded myself over such ungratefulness. It’s wrong and wasteful to destroy something that is doing well what it is created to do. There are good trees bearing good fruit and bad trees bearing bad fruit. Bad trees will be cut down and thrown into the fire. People are like trees—we know them by their fruit. Bad people may come with friendly appearances, but their ferocious, savage behavior or the devastation left behind speaks of their rotten fruit. People who lie, trick, or scam others to gain something or to lead people down unhealthy or dangerous paths are producing bad fruit.
Likewise, we can tell good people by their actions and by the examples they set, the work they do, the contributions they make to their communities, and the character they reflect. We strive, determine, work, and persevere to bear good fruit so our good fruit will overflow and bless many. So as my pear trees overflow and allow me to bless others, I want to overflow and bless others through the way I live. I wouldn’t want someone to cut me down while serving and doing what I was created to do.
Yes, having too much of something can seem like a burden until one realizes that blessings aren’t meant to be kept but are meant to be shared, given away so that the favor can be paid forward and trickle down throughout the area. If we do a kind action that encourages another kind action, where might it lead? As we overflow with blessing others, the joy will spread, making others happy. By giving, we also make ourselves happy. It’s a win-win situation.
Not every piece of fruit on the tree is good. Deformities, blemishes, bruises occur. Some parts can be salvaged, but sometimes it is just too bad and must be tossed or fed to farm animals. The animals enjoy the fruit we don’t want. The rest decays and nurtures the soil. The tree is still good though; just like a person who makes a mistake can start again to make better choices.
That is one area where people and trees differ. People can choose the direction of their fruit. May we choose wisely so that our lives will produce positive, loving results. Wisdom is proved right by her actions (Matthew 11:19b).
Meanwhile, I will count my blessings—whether they appear as pears or come in other forms.