Photo source: Morguefile Fee Photo
Photo Source: Morguefile Free Photo

Bearing Good Fruit

“Whoa, Amy! Don’t crumple up on us now,” Chuck teased, reaching out a hand as I stumbled over some rough stones on what was little more than a dirt path winding around the mountain. Shifting my army surplus  backpack, I stopped. The tropical sun beat down on us. Even in the shade, I was soaked in sweat, I plucked my t-shirt away from my skin and looked at my three companions. “Do we have any food left? Please say we do.”

Chuck knelt on the ground and carefully lifted off his heavy backpack “The sucker is staying in here,” he said, referring to the camp stove. “until we settle for the night.”

Debra took off her sunglasses and wiped the sweat away, leaving a grimy trail behind with her hand. She called over to the only local in the group , “Hey, Tico, I could go for some fruit.”

Un momento,” a besotted Martín said. “Be right back.” A few minutes later, he returned with three enormous pieces of fruit wrapped up in the bottom of his t-shirt. “Naranjas!” he declared.

Chuck’s eyes widened. “I have never seen oranges that big in my life. They’re bigger than grapefruit!”

Our *Tico friend laughed and reached into his pocket, extracting a small knife. He unfolded it and cut through the peel, juice flying everywhere. He handed one half to Debra. “Try this.”

“Ahhhh. That is sooo juicy,” she said licking her fingers and lips as she held the dripping orange away from her. She peeled some of the orange rind off and bit into the juicy flesh.“¡Rica!”

“Wait a minute, Tico, you only brought three oranges and there’s four of us, ” I pointed out.  “We’re going to split ’em in half, huh?” I didn’t want to miss out. I watched as he popped a large bite in his mouth and juice dribbled down his chin. “I hope the others taste as good as that one.”

“Of course all taste with good flavor. Every fruit on that tree is such delicious as this one.”

I ignored the grammarian in me and waited, as he cut another in half and offered me my portion. It tasted as good as they said. “Oh my gosh, is that fantastic or what?” Juicy was right. “Wow! Can you pick some more to take with us?”

He smiled. “I get a few more. They are many,” he said spreading his hands to give me an idea of the amount of oranges still hanging on the tree.

*Tico is the masculine Spanish term for a native Costa Rican. It also became our nickname for our friend.

Photo Source: Morguefile Free Photographs
Photo Source: Morguefile Free Photo

Fast forward thirty-five years later. A year ago, my sister and her husband planted red raspberry bushes alongside their driveway. Last summer, the bushes overflowed with berries. My nieces gorged on them and stripped the bushes bare, or so the grown-ups claimed. The berries, rich, red and sweet, acted like a magnet and caused everyone to gather around when they came to the house.

Each of these fruits trees have borne good fruit. I will never forget those huge, picked-straight-from-the-tree, sun-warmed oranges as long as I live. And the berries are fresh in my mind. In fact, I’m reminded of these fruits when I read the verse in Ephesians 7:17. “A good tree bears good fruit but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” According to Martín, that orange tree on the Costa Rican mountainside could only produce quality oranges. My sister claimed the soil was rich at her house and that’s why the berries were so plentiful. Carolyn, who was in the last stages of her cancer, made sure no one left the house without taking a bagful of berries.

Watching the struggle of my sister’s last days changed me.  I could see how much good fruit she was bearing in spite of being bed-bound. Everyone left her house blessed, not just with fruit, but by her sweet nature. Visitors came to encourage her but left encouraged themselves.

Sometimes I think, what kind of fruit can I bear? I’m losing my vision and my hearing. People have to help me much more than I help them. I feel discouraged until I think of my sister, who went from a healthy 150-pound woman always on-the-go reduced to almost half that size lying in a bed. She never lost her smile. People from all periods of her life called by phone and in person. They wrote her letters, sent her cards and prayed for her with a vigilance that did not surprise me.

Every night I lie in bed and think about my sister and how she lived her life. I think of the red raspberries growing in that rich fertile dirt by the side of her house and those sweet, juicy oranges, which grew in equally fertile soil in the southern hemisphere.

The verse in Ephesians ends with these words: “They will recognize [me] by my fruit.”

As I toss and turn under the covers, I ask God to make my soil fertile and rich so that I can produce good fruit.

Although I do fear for my future in different ways, I don’t have to fear that becoming blind and deaf will limit how I serve others. 

God will speak directly into my heart and take me to those He wants me to bless.  I only need to be  sensitive to His will and the Holy Spirit’s call in my life.

Whatever our limitations are, we don’t have to fear that we cannot impact others positively around us. Whether it’s offering a real fruit or producing a spiritual fruit, God has a job for us to do.

What are you favorite fruits? Have you traveled to another country? Is there a fruit you can’t stand?

You’ve just read, “Bearing Good Fruit,” by Amy L. Bovaird. © Copyright Feb 5, 2015.  Please Like and Share this post in your social networks. I would love to read your comments.

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18 thoughts on “Bearing Good Fruit

  • February 7, 2015 at 12:54 am
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    Amy, what a great post! Thank you! I am grateful first for the fact that you shared this story and secondly for the reminder that my life is filled to the brim with fruits of my labor, love and acceptance. Many blessings to you! PS- since I have moved to CA, I have discovered Apple Pears – and they are by far my absolute favorite fruit. There is something about them, that actually makes me feel very abundant and blessed 🙂

  • February 7, 2015 at 1:19 am
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    Thank you, Amy.
    Oh, very happy to hear that your life is so filled! I can tell that from your posts as well.
    I know those apple pears. They’re so crisp and flavorful! I love them too! I think they might also be called Fuji pears.
    Take care!
    Amy

  • February 7, 2015 at 3:19 am
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    Hi Amy, thanks for sharing this wonderful story. so true. i feel irrespective of someone else recognizing me,the satisfaction that i get in giving makes me happy.

  • February 7, 2015 at 11:06 am
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    Your post brought tears to my eyes. I live the simile of good fruit born from fertile soil. Sometimes, I wonder what my purpose is. I meet nobody, encourage nobody al though that is one of my greatest strengths. I’ll just have to wait for God’s plan to unfold in the future.

  • February 7, 2015 at 3:05 pm
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    That’s great, Amar! Love to read that!
    Your words reminded me of a brief video clip of a man in perhaps Thailand (or China, can’t remember). But he was helping a child, a dog and an old woman just for because he saw a need, not for recognition. And it showed how he changed their lives. The little beggar girl graduated from high school, for one. Such a nice video! Thanks so much for taking time to comment!
    Amy

  • February 7, 2015 at 3:13 pm
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    Hi Francene,
    It must be very difficult not to get out more. But you are wrong! You encourage SO many people from your writing perch!! Me for one! And I am sure, if yesterday’s blog excerpt is any indication of what’s in your books, you encourage through them as well! And what about your husband? You are a primary encouragement to him! Keep listening to God now and He will put you in the path of those He wants you to impact every day.
    Amy xx

  • February 7, 2015 at 4:25 pm
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    We will be known by the fruit we bear, and Amy, you bear good fruit. Your witness will live in your written word even if it didn’t anywhere else. God has big plans for you, Sister. He knew the struggles you would have to overcome in life, and He has given you a platform to show His glory through those struggles. He will work a mighty work through you because of your willingness and faith.

    You are bearing good fruit and by the grace of God, you will continue to bear His fruit!

  • February 7, 2015 at 4:59 pm
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    Hi Amy,

    Fantastic post! Enjoyed reading 🙂 You are such a creative writer my friend! Keep up the great work 🙂

  • February 7, 2015 at 5:27 pm
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    Thank you, Joan!
    I appreciate you stopping by!
    Looking forward to reading your “Building Authentic Conversation” post.
    Amy

  • February 7, 2015 at 8:30 pm
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    You need not fear about the sweet fruit of your writings and the memories you share with us, your readers. My favorite fruit? A russet skinned heirloom apple with a name lost to my memory (I bought it in a farmers market in Ithaca, New York) so sweet and juicy, nothing like a typical supermarket apple. And, the red raspberries (planted) and blackberries (wild) we used to pick on our land in Arkansas, so many years ago.

  • February 7, 2015 at 8:40 pm
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    Hi Alana,
    Oh, that apple sounds crunchy and delicious, Alana. Blackberries and red raspberries can’t be beat…unless its by mulberry! In Oregon, there were so many berries (longberry??) for our ice cream. Just delicious! I remember picking wild blackberries over the bank from our house! What fun!
    Amy

  • February 7, 2015 at 8:53 pm
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    Hi Carrie,
    Guess where I found this comment? In my SPAM folder along with 2 other comments from you! I wonder why they are going there?! Thank goodness I checked! There is nothing remotely like spam in this or your comments. Really strange! Thank you for your encouraging words that bring strength to me.
    Amy

  • February 8, 2015 at 1:48 am
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    Wow- you have my mouth watering. You are a great writer. I think that too – “God will speak directly into my heart and take me to those He wants me to bless. I only need to be sensitive to His will and the Holy Spirit’s call in my life.”
    Fear sometimes is so overwhelming though huh?
    You have been truly blessed in this life.

  • February 8, 2015 at 3:59 am
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    Thank you, Sara, for all your kind words.
    Yes, fear can make us do stay in one place instead of what we really want to do. Caution is good, fear, not so much. 🙂
    AMy

  • February 8, 2015 at 9:00 am
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    A wonderful analogy and story Amy! Everything is always a matter of perspective. We have the ability to change bad fruit into good fruit if we so choose…not always easy, but not impossible either! (And yeah, I’m NOT perfect myself!) 😉 <3

  • February 8, 2015 at 4:26 pm
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    Hi Elly,
    I remember one of my friends used to say about life in general, “it’s all a matter of perspective!”
    Thank you so much for weighing in on this, Elly! Always a pleasure to read what you have to say!
    Take care!
    Amy

  • February 10, 2015 at 11:41 pm
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    Amy I do so love your writing! And this story really made me stop and think about the fruit that I share with others. I needed this story, today. You have left a positive mark on a day that started out with self-doubt, thank you my friend for sharing your fruit! <3

  • February 10, 2015 at 11:53 pm
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    Hi Jen,
    You are so welcome. That self-doubt creeps in, doesn’t it? It does for me, too.
    So glad to encourage you today.We need to keep focused on the big picture.
    Have a great day, Jen!
    Amy

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