I have a thing for trees. I know every tree in the yard. I have watched them grow and change over the last two decades. It has been a few years since I was home so I was a little surprised to see an unfamiliar tree in the backyard. I didn’t think too much of it until today when my mother mentioned the peach tree.
I hope to start a fruit and vegetable garden and had just recently been researching how to grow peaches. They grow well here. But I found out that growing them from a seed is not always successful. They don’t always germinate. Even if the tree does grow, there is no guarantee that it will produce fruit. So when my mother mentioned the peach tree, my first question was, “does it produce fruit?”
“Yeah, but your dad cut off the first season. That makes the tree produce better quality fruit, apparently. The first fruits aren’t very good.”
Anyone familiar with Christianity, and especially the teachings of Jesus, will know that gardening, planting, harvesting, etc. are recurring themes. I don’t know chapter and verse, but I was brought up hearing that God wants us to give him our “first fruits”. I had always assumed, and was probably taught, that that meant He wanted our very best. The peach tree made me think otherwise.
What if the first fruits that God so desires from us aren’t our very best? What if they are whatever we have to offer? Our feeble, unpracticed attempt at an offering. Our hope that more and better fruit will grow in place of what we’re giving to Him. The deepest part of the heart is revealed by what we are willing to give up. An experienced gardener would have no problem offering his best peaches. He would be proud to do it. The real sacrifice would be for a novice like me to give up the first signs that my work had been a success, the small, green, bitter fruits.
All this occurred to me in an instant. An epiphany in my bare feet, revelation in the bright summer sun.
Welcome to the yard, Peach.