I love Granny Smith apples. There is something about the tang and snap of the delicious green apple that is unrivaled. But as much as I love a juicy tart Granny Smith, I can’t have one whenever I want. The Granny Smith apple comes to maturity in October making it a fall apple. They are to die for in November and December. They are good in January and February. Yet the farther you get from the fall the less desirous Granny Smith apples become. There comes a point when I’m not really interested…because they are out of season.
God created the seasons and I am sure glad he did because it means I get to enjoy Granny Smith apples. But, look closely, and you’ll see that there is a spiritual truth on display in the seasons as well.
The seasons show us that sometimes even “good fruit” is out of season.
I think this is what the Psalmist is saying in Psalm 1:1-3. Here he mentions that the one who delights in the Law of God will be like a tree planted by water. A tree with deep roots. But then he says something quite interesting if you stop to consider it. “That bears its fruit in season.”
The fruit we are called to bear for God sometimes comes in seasons. What’s more, sometimes we shouldn’t be bearing certain types of fruit for God because that fruit is not in season. Now let’s be clear about what the Bible does and does not say. First notice what comes directly after the line we just read…”whose leaf does not prosper.” Just because we are in a season where we do not bear fruit does not mean that we have either fallen away from God or that we have permission to be lazy in our pursuit of Him. In each case this would cause our leaf to wither. Second, not all spiritual fruit goes out of season so it’s important we know what fruit is seasonal.
The first type of seasonal fruit is service to God. You may serve God by helping out in the nursery or youth group at your church. You might lead a Bible study or a small group yet just because you do any of these things it does not mean that God expects you to do this particular job for the rest of your life! Service in a particular role often, not always, has an expiration date. It would be good for some of us who are feeling a little less than fresh to have a conversation with God about whether or not He is leading us to serve elsewhere. Many times God uses a ministry for a season of our life to help us grow and mature. Yet many times God calls us on in order to stretch and grow us. We have seasons of service. The second type of seasonal fruit is found within discipleship. We are all called to disciple others but as we do we need to recognize the different stages our disciples are in. You may go through a season where you see many individuals converted. You may go through a season where you see many people growing. You may go through a season where you see your spiritual children leave the nest. Or perhaps you are gifted to lead people to Christ and you need to let your disciples move into the competent care of another so you can focus on reaching the lost. Each season is different. Each season is important. Each season may come and go in your life.
I challenge you to spend some time today asking God what season you’re in and how you are best serving Him. I encourage you to ask God to help sift through the fruit of your life and together look at the expiration dates. I pray for courage that if you find anything that might be out of season that, with God’s help, you let it go gladly.
Do you agree that some spiritual fruit has an “out of season”? Why or Why Not?
Does “out of season” mean “no longer important” or “not the best place for me”? Is there a difference? Why or why not?
Does being “out of season” mean we have to lose our passion for a particular area of ministry or focus of discipleship? Why or Why Not?