Lessons From the Pineapple and the Poppy
“Fruit bearing is a beautiful process. First there are leaves; then the flowers; then the fruit. God provides the water from beneath and the sun from above. Day by day the branches develop; day by day the fruit is produced. If you are looking for instant fruitfulness, you will be disappointed. Fruit must be cultivated.” – Warren Wiersbe in his book, “The 5 Secrets of Living”
I have a print of poppys that was given to me by my best friend after her mother died of breast cancer. It has traveled from home to home with our family as one of my treasured possessions. I treasure it because Peggy’s mom, Beverly, painted it and her mom has a special place in my heart. When we moved to Vermont, we bought a home with flowers galore. As spring arrived and plants and flowers started to bloom for the first time I was so thankful for the beautiful flowers that kept appearing, and also frustrated with the many weeds that grew alongside of them. One of the struggles I have always had in weeding is knowing what to pull and what not to pull. Someone once told me that if I don’t like it, just pull it. One day, as I worked in a small bed on the side of our deck I noticed a prickly ? weed. Though unsightly, perhaps because it was ‘different’ to me, I left it alone and forgot about it. I’m not really sure how much time passed after that, but it was long enough that when I walked past this same flower bed some time later I was shocked to find this, my one and only poppy. The others never had a chance to bloom because I pulled them, thinking they were weeds.
My other story is about a pineapple. When we lived in Guam, my neighbor was a master gardener. She told me that I could take the top of a pineapple, put it in the ground and grow a new pineapple. I took her advice one day and there the pineapple sat in the dirt for what seemed like forever. When our house flooded and we had to move I went back to my old garden to see what I wanted to transplant to our new home. The pineapple wasn’t on my list, but my friend, Cindy, later took it and planted it at her house. A loooong time later I was visiting her home and this is what she was so excited to show me:
I guess my point is this: Growth takes time, and it takes patience. It is so easy to desire so much of ourselves and then to place expectations on ourselves to, in our own strength, make change happen overnight. Whether our desire is to eat better, exercise consistently, stop raising our voices at our children, start praying every day, stop eating junk, or whatever change or desire is pressing on our hearts, if we are looking for instant fruit we will be disappointed. Most of the time (there are exceptions, praise God!) change doesn’t happen overnight, but rather one step at a time and one decision at a time. If we tell ourselves that we’re going to change overnight, and then we don’t, or if we don’t like the ugly in ourselves that is revealed to us along the way, we’ll be tempted to give up on ourselves and the growth process that WILL yield fruit in time. There is beauty in change and beauty through change. Rather than setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves, let’s expect great things from God in time as we grow in relationship with Him, ask Him to show us our next step and, in faith, take it.
I want to share a little known children’s song with an amazing message. After you click the link, play song number 3, “Little By Little.” It’s a message not just for our children and about our children, but for us and about us as well.
Phillippians 1:6 (NLT) And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.