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Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

I love big, juicy, red raspberries. One day I decided I would plant my very own raspberry patch. I took some apple seeds from an apple I’d just eaten and went into my yard. I found a place in my yard that would be nice and convenient for me, right under a large oak tree and close to the house. I threw the seeds down on the ground and went into the house. I made sure there was just enough rain and sunshine for my plants. A few days latter the seeds had begun to grow several nice raspberry plants and in a few weeks I went out to pick my own bucket of fresh, juicy red raspberries.

If you know anything about gardening you know that the story above is pure foolishness. You can’t grow raspberries from apple seeds; you can’t just throw seeds on hard, uncultivated ground and expect them to grow; and most importantly of all, you can’t control the rain or the sunshine.

In order to have a healthy crop of whatever I want to plant there are some basic rules that need to be followed. Rule number one: plant the right kind of seed. If I want raspberries, plant raspberry seeds! Rule number two: plant my seeds in ground that is prepared for them. Rule number three: wait patiently. Plants don’t mature overnight and fruit can take years to develop. Rule number four: All my preparing, planting and patience will do no good without divine help. God is the one that controls the rain and the sunshine.

The same four rules apply to life. If we want to see positive things in our lives we need to plant positive seeds. Planting seeds of understanding and compassion will eventually produce love. Planting seeds of forgiveness and acceptance will eventually produce trust. Planting seeds of humility will eventually produce respect. Planting seeds of discipline and accountability will eventually produce self-confidence.

Planting positive seeds not only produces good fruit, it keeps disease from attacking us. When we plant positive seeds anger, bitterness, loneliness and hate will have less of an impact on us.

Producing fruit isn’t painless. Imagine the pain the soil must feel when we churn it up and rip out all the dead roots and rocks to make it healthy. Imagine the loneliness of the seed as it lays in the darkness of the ground waiting for growth to begin. Imagine the frustration of the young plant as it anxiously awaits the first buds the signal the beginning of fruitful growth.

None of this will happen of course without rule number four. Healthy fruit in our lives begins with God and ends with God. He is the one that needs to be involved in showing us all the ugly stuff that needs to be removed from our lives for fruit to flourish. He is the one that gives us wisdom and patience in knowing where to plant, when to plant and how to plant positive seeds in the ones around us. He alone can bring fruit in the lives of others and us.

PRAYER: Father God. I want to make a difference in my world. I want to be fruitful in my own life as well as producing fruit in the lives of others. I ask that you would show me the things in my own life that need to be removed in order to produce fruit. Give me patience with others when they don’t ‘grow’ at the rate I was hoping for. Protect as I patiently cultivate the relationships in my life so that they may produce healthy fruit as well. In Jesus name, Amen.

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