For eighteen months, I scrutinized the limes on my lemon tree for a glimpse of yellow.
I had been told it would take two years for the fruit to develop, and since it was the second year, I watched intently. In mid-summer, I noticed the first break-through yellow and thought I had gotten the lemon tree I wanted.
I protected the tree all summer from the backyard baseball games’ foul balls. And when the temps dropped too low, I brought it inside. Since I love this tree, I overlook its inconvenient presence.
But then my sons and I were in our schoolroom, and one decided to use the lemon tree’s pot to boost himself to a higher shelf. He didn’t realize the pot wouldn’t support his weight. It tipped over, breaking one half of the Y branch on the tree. Initially, I wanted to cry. My sweet, shocked son was brokenhearted to think he’d caused me sadness and destroyed the lemon tree. But like all C-rated aspiring horticulturists, I told him I knew just how to fix it: duct tape.
Matthew, one of Jesus’ disciples, writes an analogy about fruit and people, giving a beautiful way to see how we can determine the integrity of our character:You will know them by their fruits.
I teach my children their words matter. The tone of their voice, the intention of their heart, the actions of their hands. These things are their fruit. The products in their life that illustrate their character. It matters how we respond when we’re unguarded. And it matters what we produce in our lives. It’s our character. It’s our fruit.
After two weeks, fresh blooms appeared on the broken limbs of the lemon tree. My summer harvest of six lemons excited me, and I already had a recipe chosen for their glorious fate. The duct tape held, and my lemon curd, created from only four of the lemons, provided enough to share.
When life gives you lemons, choose what you will do with them. You will be known by your fruit.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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