Can You Grow Peaches?

I tried so hard to grow peaches.

My grandma had the most productive peach trees I've ever seen. They grew in her tiny backyard, right in the middle of the city. She did nothing to take care of them, but there they were, thriving on city soil and smog, producing fruit more luscious than anything you could buy.

So I thought: How hard can it be? I'll do that too.

I bought trees from nurseries, from seed catalogs, from plant stores and fussed over them with tender-loving care. They always died.

So I bought more and tried ignoring them, like Grandma did. They shriveled up.

I checked my soil, checked my fertilizer, checked my water and sun, balanced everything, and bought more. This time, they lived! Twins, side-by-side down by the garden.

Year after year, I watched them, watered them, fed them, and waited patiently while their gnarly trunks thickened and strained upward. 

I smiled as I watched them. It would all be worth it when I bit into that first peach. I could almost taste the sweet juice running down my chin. I might even set up a stand by the road. Sell some. Give some away.

And then at last--the first buds!

In due time, tiny green peaches appeared. My anticipation rose.

And then fell. Because they stayed tiny green peaches. All summer. The size of a nickle and green as a pickle. Finally some desperate bird snatched all six of them and that was the end of my peach harvest.

Season after season, I hoped, prayed and watered, and every year the same thing--nothing. After about ten years of this nonsense, I'd had enough. I took my chainsaw down there and whacked those trees to stumps. It was painful, but it was the end of futile hoping. A peach tree without peaches is worthless and a constant reminder of what it should be and isn't.

People are like that. God expects us to produce what he has invested in us and when we don't, we're nothing but an eyesore--a sad reminder of what we could be, but won't be.

The Bible talks about bearing the Fruit of the Spirit. God calls it that because these are nine things we can't do on our own. They are so opposite from our natural inclinations that if God wasn't producing this fruit inside of us, we'd say "forget it."

At first glance, the list looks pretty simple: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. But when we look a little deeper, we find that this kind of fruit is not man-made. Just as man can't make a fresh peach, he also can't manufacture these genuine fruits in abundance. So what he does is change their definitions so that imitation peach-flavored candy passes for the real thing.

For the next few posts, we're going to look at each one of these Fruits of the Spirit and find out exactly what they are, why you can't manufacture them on your own, and what your life looks like without them.

And if you happen to be one of the fortunate ones who can grow peaches, go ahead and send me a bushel this summer!


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