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It Takes Time to Ripen

Fruit requires time to ripen.

A small boy was looking at the tomatoes growing in the farmer's garden. "I'll give you my nickel for that tomato," said the boy pointing to a large, ripe fruit hanging on the vine.

"I can’t do that," said the farmer, "I get a dollar for a tomato like that one."

The boy pointed to a very tiny green one, "Will you sell that one for a nickel?"

Grinning, the farmer replied, "OK. That one you can have for a nickel."

“Good," the kid said, handing over his nickel. "I'll pick it up in about two weeks."

We understand that fruit requires time to ripen. Do we understand that changes in behavior also take time? Or, do we miss the harvest by giving up too soon? I lifted weights in high school. (Please don’t act so surprised.) After two weeks, I could see no new bulges in my biceps so I quit. I understand now that I might have been a bit too impatient.

It is significant that God frequently compares human growth and change to growing fruit. In Galatians 5, virtues like love, joy, peace, patience (even that one takes time to grow), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control are called “the fruit of the Spirit” (vv. 22-23). Those take time to grow. The picking comes long after the planting.

Jesus compared his followers to a grape vine. Actually, he said, “I am the vine and you are the branches” (John 17:5). To bear fruit, the branches must “remain” – must stay, stick to it. To stress that, he repeats “remain” 10 times in just 8 verses. We must persist and be patient. If we hope to ripen, we must remain.

“Diamonds,” Malcolm Forbes said, “are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.” I would add that they stuck to it for a loooong time. As Arnold Glasow said, “The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg - not by smashing it."

Are there changes you need to make –seeds you need to plant? Are there results – fruit - you want to enjoy? Plant the seeds. And, then be patient. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

Fruit takes time to ripen. So do people.


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