This past Father’s Day I was gifted, to my agrarian delight, with a Lemon Tree. I have grown up around peach trees, pear trees and apple trees. I know a little about figs, plums and blackberries. Growing lemons is something completely new to me.
I did a little reading on the subject of lemon trees, repotted my cherished plant, and counted ten small but growing green orbs destined to be lemons that will brighten our future. In the ensuing months several of the fruit did not make it due to deer who evidently like a little lemon with their tomatoes. Still I had several more on limb. One in particular had gotten fat and ready for the picking. Weeks past and it remained green. I worried that it would turn brown before yellow. While it stayed green my patience was getting about thin.
All of my family speculated and advised. The group consensus was that this was no lemon tree, but a lime in lemon clothing. Further reading revealed that the foliage of a lemon and a lime was practically indistinguishable. Figuring the matter settled, I hastily plucked my juicy lime before varmints or time rendered it lost, and brought it into the kitchen. I had no edible plans for my solitary lime. It was just joy enough in knowing I had saved it from certain demise. Slicing into it, first by smell and next by sight, I realized my mistake. This was no lime in lemon’s clothing. It was a lemon, still green, still waiting to let nature do its work, but apparently nature’s lesser evolved creature (yours truly) was too impatient.
It was just not ripened.
Things, issues, people, problems, solutions…all need seasons to ripen properly don’t they? It is true that sometimes we can wait too long and then what was ripe begins to rot. But I also think we can be too hasty, too short-sighted and rush something along, wanting to pluck the fruit and invariably discovering it was not yet time.
I have been serving this church nearly seven years now, and each year has been a privilege and honor. There are many things I have taken joy in seeing “ripen” in God’s good timing, most of them rooted (catch the play on words?) in relationships. There are a few things I wish would hurry up. Some things may be ready and I am not sensitive to the season and other things still need time.
In each life God is growing something into fruition. Indeed God is doing so throughout this world. Politics, fear of the future, distrust of others, and lack of faith oftentimes leave us either rushing to decisions, or belaboring something until it rots.
Today you will be weighing in on countless issues: opinions about candidates and the popular issues; family matters trivial and great; work-related decisions; crises of faith; unnamed but real fears; promising opportunities – just to name a few. The real question is not what will you decide or how will you choose. The real question is what is God ripening for you today?
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted…
Blessed to be growing with you,