By Gwen Williams/Guest Columnist
The Picayune Item
Summer time is just the time to reap the harvest from the spring plantings. Many fruit stands will grace the highways luring the health conscious with their bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Some of the delights are eaten and some are packed away for the cold winter months.
Likewise my garden produced its share of healthy veggies for my freezer. I was really proud of the bountiful crop of blue berries from my very own trees. My mouth watered as I thought of the many muffins I would bake or the blueberry pies I would share with my neighbors. As I placed each bag in the freezer my mind wandered to the day my trees were planted.
One of my church members brought the small twig-looking bushes to plant in the yard. “They sure look ugly.” I thought to myself. I was instructed to give them time, water, and pine straw, and in about 5 years they would produce a great harvest of blueberries.
My waiting taste buds were disappointed that first year when my trees produced nothing. I continued to water and feed the trees hoping for a better crop the next year. The trees budded and tiny berries appeared, but they were sour. I continued my regimen of care until four years passed. I could not believe the crop of sweet juicy berries. They were worth waiting for.
As I gathered the luscious fruit my mind thought of new believers in Jesus. They come to Christ and plant themselves in the church garden. Many of them produce little fruit or some of the fruit is ugly and sour. Like my blueberry trees it takes time for them to product the fruit that reflects the God they represent. During this growing process we (the church) are to continue to nourish them. More often the church judges and criticizes these new believers. I am who I am today because I was surrounded with strong believers who fed me during my growing fruitless years.
Perhaps you may notice some trees bearing bad, sour, or ugly fruit. Instead of judging or criticizing them, you should continue to nourish them and give them another chance to grow into the mature believer you have become. We can produce a great harvest if we just take time to help each other grow.