Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pick Your Grove

We do not get to choose our DNA. Our parents are who they are whether we like their life, or not. Even those who have been adopted; those kids didn't choose adoptive parents anymore than they chose their birth parents. We can't choose our cousins. We can't choose our siblings. We can't choose our aunts or uncles. We can attempt to sculpt our bodies, but we can't choose our body shape. We can't choose our skin pigment. We can choose our behavior and attitude, but we can't choose our personality. We can't choose our height. In these we are stuck, stuck, stuck.

There are so many things about the person in our skin that we have absolutely no control over. But there is something we have control over; which grove we live in. 

Natural trees have no choice where they're planted. They are utterly dependent on the farmer to know what ground and air is best suited for their successful growth and reproduction. But spiritual trees are almost exclusively their own farmer.

We are spiritual trees. We decide where we are planted. God only plants us with our permission. Even in His Supreme status, in this He chooses the role of assistant. He turns all power of choice over to us. I've seen many, many tree plantings in my time of living for God. I've seen when people realize for the first time that God is loving and generous, and has our best interests at heart. In relief they joyfully surrender all to Him, and in doing so they give him permission to plant them wherever He sees best. But over time I've seen some gradually stop seeking His sky for His rain of growth. In their stagnant state (brought about by their detachment from Him) they become dissatisfied with where He planted them, and they start looking for another habitat, hoping to respark their growth. 

I've seen other trees be given marching orders. God himself says to move from the place He personally planted them. God sends trees on an Abrahamic journey, a walk of faith into new territory. Lest we think this is some magical key to happiness, let me warn you with this insight; I've never seen a tree in this situation be glad about this move. When trees are transplanting from church to church, ministry to ministry, job to job, happy and psyched about the transitions, that is a carnal move, not a God-ordained move. Trees to whom The Spirit is being called to move generally have the wisdom to loath the prospect. They're like Christ, both led and driven into the new place.

Whether we transplant because God pushed us, or because we're carnally seeking greener pastures, when we replant ourselves we replant with other trees. We try to seek out our kind. But in our uprooting we can't be sure what we're getting ourselves into. I've never seen a tree eat another tree's fruit. So, while an orange tree may find a grove of orange trees and determine, "We're all orange trees! This is the perfect place for me!" You don't know if those oranges are good or bad fruit, sweet and nutritious, or bitter and poisonous.

How can you tell a Good Fruit tree from a Bad Fruit tree when you're not partaking of the fruit? 

Answer: You can tell by who the tree attracts.

If you find yourself in a position to need to choose a grove, choose a grove that attracts the pure in heart. The pure in heart will not settle for bitter fruit. They bring their children to good fruit. They offer their spouses good fruit. They present to their friends good fruit. And these people WORK to access the good fruit. They may have to pay a price to enter the grove. They may have to ask the grove keeper's permission to pick the fruit. They may have to travel far to be a recipient of the good fruit. Those who want the best know there's a price to pay to have it. And you'll know a Good Fruit tree by the caretaker. How involved is God in the daily care of that grove? Good Fruit trees relentlessly ask The Master to prune, fertilize, water, and weed. The more involved the tree asks The Master to be, the sweeter the fruit will be. 

On the other side of the spectrum is bad fruit. These groves are left unattended. While there may be an owner of the grove, it's not worth the investment of hiring workers to keep the area weed free. It's not worth the cost of pesticides to keep the place pest free. Besides, these Bad Fruit trees reject all intervention anyway. It's on the backside of nowhere, out of sight, out of mind. Therefore nobody has to pay to access that fruit. Bitter Fruit groves attract the derelict, the thief, the irresponsible. Bad Fruit trees attract lazy people who are unwilling to pay for Good Fruit, therefore they must take Bad Fruit. Also, as mentioned before, Bad Fruit trees have very little aptitude to surrender to The Master, if at all. They refuse pruning, they do not seek care, they don't want anyone caring about the weeds surrounding and the bugs invading. Their "Keep Out" signs are posted for the eyes of The Master.

Don't be deceived into having pity on these Bad Fruit trees. They KNOW they're producing bitter fruit, and they refuse to put themselves in any situation to change that outcome. There is a way to alter one's fruit production from bitter to sweet. It's by a process called grafting. Only The Master can do the grafting. A Bitter Fruit tree must surrender to God who will uproot and replant the tree in the best environment for the tree. Then he grafts a part of himself into the tree. If that tree will remain, it will begin to produce the sweetest of fruit. But if that tree is arrogant and prideful, they will not surrender to this process. They remain a Bad Fruit tree and your folly to help is more prideful than helpful. These, "I can help" attempts are truly all about "Me, Myself, and I." 

"I'm the one with insight to help."
"I'm more loving than others."
"I'm going to prove my power."

I point this out because I've seen trees in transit see a grove of bitter trees and feel an undeserved pity. I've seen well-intentioned (howbeit uncounseled) trees believe the Bitter Fruit tree "need" their presence and sympathy. They plant themselves among the Bad Fruit trees, then are forced to endure what The Master never intended them to endure. They reap the hazards of being with trees visited only by thieves who rape and pillage their branches with no thought of care or another season's reproduction. 

Meanwhile, Good Fruit trees are enjoying the joy and laughter of those whom they are generously supplying with Good Fruit. Aware that The Master is purposefully cultivating the ability to reproduce more Good Fruit again the next season. 

You get to choose which grove you plant yourself in. 

Surround yourself with good-tree folks to keep from eating bitter fruit behavior.

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.”
Luke 6:43 NIV

No comments:

Post a Comment