I picked raspberries yesterday. Hard to believe, just two days short of November? Yes, there were berries hanging on some of the plants, waiting for my cold wet fingers to pluck them into my basket. No, they weren’t perfect like summer berries, but don’t be too hard on them—conditions for their growth are a long way from perfect right now! They’ve just survived 9 straight days of rain. (Persecution?) But they are even more appreciated because they are few!
Yes, it is all about FRUIT. Fruit, more fruit. Who would bother with all the work of planting, and watering, and fertilizing, and staking, and pruning—if it were not for the prospect of harvesting a good crop of GOOD fruit?
As I was picking those berries (there were only 2 or 3 quarts), several possible lessons came to mind.
We have seen before that God compares the work of His people to the process of bearing fruit, GOOD fruit. Turn to Isaiah, chapter 27.
Isaiah 27:6 6…Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, And fill the face of the world with fruit.
Think of that! Israel—a term for God’s faithful people—will, when the time is right, blossom and bud and FILL the face of the world with FRUIT.
It is the same promise that we have in Numbers 14:21. The voice is speaking for God:
Numbers 14:21 21[As] truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord—
A worldwide change! In spite of Israel’s stubborn rejection of God, and in spite of their dislike of the Land of Promise, God WILL have His way. It will be a worldwide triumph. How sure is the promise? As SURE as the very existence of GOD!
Returning to our responsibility to bear fruit, the fruit must be GOOD fruit, highest in quality, nothing inferior or small, or it will be removed. Why? Because it doesn’t honor God Almighty!
Matthew 7:18–20 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Jesus repeated this point at another time. A good tree WILL produce GOOD FRUIT.
Matthew 12:33 33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
But it didn’t always happen. Jeremiah observed this problem among his people and took it to God. Let us read Jeremiah 12:2:
Jeremiah 12:2 2You have planted them, yes, they have taken root; They grow, yes, they bear fruit. You are near in their mouth But far from their mind.
Definitely NOT good fruit when God was “near” as they talked, but “far” from their heart.
But all fruit bearing plants are not alike. Why do we have raspberries now? Because these plants are an “EVERBEARING” variety. Most of our berries make one crop and are done. The EVERBEARINGS keep blooming and setting as long as the weather holds out.
The same is true in our application. All Christ’s fruit bearing trees are not alike. They all make GOOD fruit, and they KEEP making it even when there are disadvantages. They don’t have to have conditions ideal to make fruit. When the weather is turbulent and the sunshine is less, they still CONTINUE to make fruit. They are true EVERBEARINGS.
Even to old age.
Psalm 92:14 14They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing
What if one decides to wait for perfect conditions? Ecclesiastes has the answer.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 4He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap.
What is this person thinking?
4He who observes the wind will not sow [he waits for the “perfect” wind, thinks, the wind is too strong, or it is from the wrong direction—not a good time to plant!], And he who regards the clouds will not reap [those clouds look too threatening! Wrong time to harvest!]
He wants IDEAL conditions. So does everybody. But if you wait for ideal conditions, you’ll never do anything! You won’t plant, and you certainly won’t reap!
WHY do we need to be a spiritual “EVERBEARING” variety?
1- God doesn’t want “sometime-or other” service (at our convenience).
Some things (like growing fruit) have to be done “in season,
out of season.”
Paul wrote to Timothy about this reality. It is as if he said, “You have been called to full-time service, but be prepared! It won’t be always easy.”
2 Timothy 4:1–2 1I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.
What is the meaning of “in season, out of season”? Simply put, it is when it is convenient and – when it isn’t! Obligation doesn’t change because our feelings change.
When convenient and when inconvenient; when you feel welcome, and when you don’t. Like God warned Ezekiel,
Ezekiel 3:27 27…when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.
You don’t change people’s minds. This shows what God is looking for—OUR response. It is fully within OUR control.
Paul was giving Timothy the same direction. He said, Timothy, you can’t make the people what they are not, but you have a responsibility in the presence of God to preach the Word. Sometimes you’ll feel like facing the issues, and sometimes you won’t.
2Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
Whatever the situation, do your duty with all longsuffering and teaching.
Then there is another point for the EVERBEARING varieties:
2- God knows the RIGHT TIME for fruit.
Remember the fig tree Jesus cursed? Why? What was the problem?
Matthew 21:18–19 18Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. 19And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away.
It was the season for fruit, and the tree had NO FRUIT on it.
What did the Psalmist say about the good tree bearing fruit?
Psalm 1:3 3He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
God wants trees that bear fruit in its season—at the right time—and its leaves DO NOT WITHER. A sure sign of EVERBEARINGS! They never dry up but stay fresh and growing, always “prospering” because their roots are taking in the water of life.
Jeremiah says something else about these special trees:
Jeremiah 17:7–8 7“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. 8For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Now let’s go to another place to see some EVERBEARING trees. These trees are called the trees of LIFE. They grow on both sides of the river that parallels Main Street in the Holy City.
And they are true EVERBEARINGS!
Now go to the last chapter of Revelation to get the picture. These trees of LIFE bear twelve kinds of fruit, a different fruit EVERY MONTH, and they do it the whole YEAR ROUND!
Revelation 22:1–2 1And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Now is the time to put our roots deep into the soil that is watered by the River of LIFE, drawing from it a continuous stream of nutrients. Then BE an EVERBEARING plant – bear the good fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and Christian love – all day, every day, year round.
Whatever your age, or situation, whether you “Like it” or not, whether it is more or less favorable doesn’t matter.
Remember, we’re all senior citizens now––but we can still bear MUCH fruit. So keep on bearing!
And then, let’s take the QUANTUM leap FORWARD—from EVERBEARING now, during this little brief life, to EVERBEARING in ETERNITY! Read it from the Word:
Psalm 84:7 7They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion.
Or as it reads in the King James Version,
Psalm 84:7 7They go from strength to strength, Every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
Isn’t this EVERBEARING? Paul said it too:
2 Corinthians 3:18 18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
That is true EVERBEARING – going from “strength to strength .. in Zion,” from “glory to glory” in that All-NEW world…ETERNALLY!
That is why we want to keep on. KEEP growing, KEEP bearing fruit until “Israel,” God’s people in that NEW world, “blossoms and buds and FILLS the face of the earth with fruit”! (Isa 27:6).
…when the whole earth is “FILLED with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
With God there is no half and half.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Isn’t that another way of saying we are either bearing fruits of righteousness or evil fruit?
If we wait till things are just right to start growing good fruit we will spend our lives waiting. The right time is now, right where you are.
Don’t look at the weather, don’t look at the time, start breaking up the fallow ground and plant seeds of righteousness in fertile soil. The Lord will send the rain and provide the sunshine. You grow the fruit in season or out of season. Whether the time seems favorable or when the sky is dark and threatening, keep growing good fruit.
Be everbearing good fruit and you will hear the welcome words, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Remember the fig tree Jesus denounced because it had no fruit. When the Master comes those not bearing good fruit will likewise wither and die.
Also, remember, the only way we prove ourselves worthy of God’s favor is to bear MUCH fruit:
John 15:8″My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”