“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30

Plastic Fruit

As a young girl I watched my mother, an aspiring artist, practice drawing bowls of fruit. She held her art pencils just so—tilted at angles that looked so awkward to me. Yet beneath her increasing skills, the fruit in her drawing began to take on the shape of life. Shading here, erasing there, smudging this edge, outlining that one. Apples, bananas, and pears with appropriately-placed shadows would soon look more like a photograph than a drawing.

I never could draw the bowls of fruit like she could. The special pencils slipped between my unskilled fingers; I always felt clumsy. My fruit was no more than hard, unshapely outlines of the real thing. Let’s be truthful—I struggled to stay inside the lines in my beloved coloring books, even when I was using the newest big box of crayons that had 64 colors and a very cool crayon sharpener built into the back of the box.

I’ve been thinking about real fruit and plastic fruit. Real fruit is good for you. Plastic fruit is not. Only a very small child might mistake the plastic for the real. It may look tasty, but it isn’t real. Plastic fruit is hollow and useless, except perhaps as decor. (I sure do remember that bowl of plastic fruit on our dining table back in the 1960’s. I had to dust it on Saturdays.)

Real fruit in the life of a believer is soul-winning, loving, and healthy. It is Spirit-produced, not the product of  “trying harder.” It comes by abiding in the Vine, Jesus, and is called a tree of life—in other words, the fruit is life-giving. Incidentally, fruit can’t be produced any other way than by someone actually growing it—dirt, water, soil, nutrients, sunlight. This is one thing the Spirit does in us: grow fruit.

Or, perhaps you relate to overripe fruit that stays in its growing place too long without being eaten—without being used for its intended purpose. Wasted. Unshared. It will shrivel in the spiritual sense, and eventually drop off.

Jesus says in John 15:16, “… I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit….” 

We each need to look at the fruit of our lives. Real and healthy, or fake and hollow, or overripe and unshared with others.

“Father, make us aware of the fruit of our lives. Give us wisdom to evaluate with truth and discernment. Then, by the work of Your Spirit in us, may we go and bear fruit that pleases You and is a tree of life to others. Amen.”