April 22, 2015 • Life for Leaders
Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good.”
When I read Genesis 1:11-12, I can’t help but think of my life in the Texas Hill Country. For seven years, my family and I lived in this beautiful region to the west of Austin and San Antonio. It features rolling hills, rocky outcroppings, winding rivers, and millions of oak trees. If you’ve never been to the Hill Country, I heartily recommend a visit. (One great way to do this is by attending a retreat at Laity Lodge.)
Though covered with vegetation, the Hill Country contains little in the way of rich topsoil. Beneath a shallow layer of dirt (known as caliche, call-LEE-chee), you’ll find almost impenetrable limestone. Digging a small hole in the Hill Country can take hours. (I actually bought a small jackhammer to do minor gardening!)
Yet, some fruit trees flourish in the Hill Country. Near the small town of Medina, there are orchards of dwarf apple trees that grow some of the most intensely flavored apples I have ever eaten. Pecans grow in many areas of the Hill Country. But, most of all, peaches thrive there. Hill Country peaches are famous for their juicy goodness.
According to Genesis 1:11-12, God is responsible for this goodness. God created fruit trees with the capacity through seeds to make more fruit trees, which make more fruit trees, and so forth and so on. God set up creation so that, one day, there would be delicious apples, pecans, and peaches growing in the Texas Hill Country. How wonderful!
Moreover, if you’ll allow me to jump ahead in the story, God also made human beings with the ability both to eat and to enjoy fruit. It’s easy to take this for granted. But when I stop long enough to consider that God made me with the ability to taste and enjoy a Hill Country peach, I am amazed . . . and grateful. What an awesome gift, a double gift, really. The peaches are great, and we can delight in them!
Today, let me encourage you to enjoy God’s good gifts, including the gift of fruit. If you can, find a piece of fruit and savor it. Then offer thanks to the God of fruit.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What kinds of fruit do you most enjoy? As you think about eating some of this fruit, reflect on the fact that God made it and also made you with the capacity to relish it. Let your heart be filled with gratitude, and share this with God.
O Lord, today we are reminded, first of all, of the gift of fruit. Thank you for creating it and creating a means for fruit to be grown throughout the world. Thank you also, Lord, for giving us the ability, not just to eat fruit, but also to enjoy it. What an amazing blessing!
Forgive me, Lord, when I fail to enjoy the goodness of your creation, including fruit. I eat it so quickly, rushing to get to my next meeting or obligation, without receiving the gift you have for me. Forgive me also, I pray, for my lack of gratitude for your good gifts, including the gift of fruit. Teach me to savor life and to thank you for all of it, beginning this very day. Amen.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.