Fresh fruit available in western supermarkets can be delicious. And yet, fruit that’s been picked early and shipped to markets cannot compare with fruit ripened on the tree and picked a few moments before it’s enjoyed. While living overseas for years, our family became spoiled by a wide variety of freshly-pick fruit available at almost any time.
Mango was a favorite fruit for me and my daughter while living overseas. When freshly picked, it bursts with flavor and sweetness. We really missed this after moving back to the United States. With this in mind, we bought the best mango we could find in our local supermarket, and after enjoying it my daughter planted the seed in our backyard.
It’s now been about ten years since my daughter placed that seed in the ground. As you can see from the image above, our mango tree is approaching thirty feet tall. Since it had not borne fruit since being planted, we thought that for one reason or another our tree would not provide us with fresh mangos as we had hoped. This year, however, we were in for a surprise.
Sure enough, a month or so ago baby mangos sprang out on the limbs of our home-grown tree. They were not large enough to pick or enjoy, yet after doing some research we learned that this is perfectly normal. It’s not unusual for a mango tree to be fruitless for ten years, and to then slowly increase the quality and quantity of its yield in the years thereafter.
If you look carefully at the image above, you’ll notice that the leaves on the top few feet of the tree are lighter green than the rest. This is new growth that began to push its way through just two weeks ago. In fact, the tree added almost three feet to its height in just a week.
I enjoy sitting in our living room and looking out at our mango tree. It reminds me of my daughter, who is now married and lives a few miles away with her husband. By God’s grace and goodness, they are doing very well, as are our son and his wife who also live in the area.
As I thought about the incredible new growth our mango tree has undergone, and the promise of more fruit to come in the years ahead, I couldn’t help but relate this to spiritual growth and fruit. It seems that there are seasons of growth in the life of a Christ follower in similar ways that there are for trees and other plants. In fact, again by God’s grace, I’ve been sensing a season of growth in my own relationship with Jesus in the past few years. It seems now to be increasing in quality and quantity in the same way that our mango tree has. Of course, spiritual growth is not always as clearly seen as is the case for trees, and it’s seldom that one would grow the equivalent of three feet spiritually in a week, yet even small glimpses of spiritual growth can result in a degree of joy that cannot be known in any other way.
In the ebbs and flows of life, seasons of spiritual growth can be among the most enjoyable. Even as they take place, however, one is reminded that long periods that allow for maturity come between the growth spurts. No matter where you or I find ourselves in this process, let’s be thankful for God’s faithfulness in drawing us closer to himself as we live in his word, pray, and listen to the still, small voice of the Spirit. The fact that God loves us so much that he invites us to grow closer to Him is something in which our hearts can take great delight. May you and I continue to grow closer to God as we trust him with our lives, our futures, and with those we most dearly love. Amen!
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.