s a banana a fruit or a vegetable?
The answer is simple, right?
We all know a banana is a fruit...
Or is it?
On a recent
visit to a banana plantation on the isle of Guadeloupe, I was shocked to
learn that a banana is not a fruit at all, and the tall, leafy plant
that it grows on is not even a tree! Rather, the plant is technically
considered an herb, and the "fruit" is actually better classified as a
Each banana plant can only produce one
flower. The banana plant dies after this. It can thus be said that the
banana plant gives its entire life for just one flower.
made me think about the Great Commission. We are all called to
share the gospel ("Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."
Matt 28:19-20 NIV), but most of us are not evangelists. Most of us are,
rather, banana plants. We may only produce one or two flowers for the
Lord in our lifetimes.
And that's okay. It isn't a numbers game.
The evangelists may lead hundreds of people to Christ, but most of them
only have access to people who actually come to their meetings. In
addition, it is only a select number of people who will give their
hearts to Christ after hearing the gospel only one time, and these
people will need plenty of encouragement and guidance in order to
continue on with their walk with Christ, something that most evangelists
just don't have the time to do. Most of us will probably never hold an
evangelistic series, yet in our own, individual ways, we can reach
people who would never think of attending an evangelistic series. We can
be there to work with them, to encouragement them, to give them guidance
and to answer their Bible questions.
It is a lot of
work for just one person, but then, the Banana plant puts a lot of
effort into one flower, too! In the same way that the Banana plant makes
producing just one flower its only priority, we need to make the Great
Commission our one purpose, even if it means that we succeed
only once in bringing someone to the Lord.
But is all the effort
really worth it?
The answer again comes from the Banana plant.
You see, that one flower from the Banana plant doesn't just produce one
banana. It produces one bunch of bananas, and that bunch may
mean as many as 400! So when we make the great commission our priority,
even if we only succeed in bringing one person to Christ, we never know
but that one person will go on to produce 400 more!
plant does have some help. In order for a healthy bunch of
bananas to be produced, it requires the help of a Banana farmer who
comes along at the right time, trims off the remains of the flower and
covers the bunch in a blue plastic bag to keep out the bugs and to
prevent the bananas from ripening too fast.
In the same way, we
have the Master Banana former: We have God's Spirit to help us. Even by
pouring everything we have into the Great Commision, we continue to need
the Holy Spirit to cover our spiritual offspring and to protect them and
keep them growing at the right speed. That's the good news. We don't do
But the story doesn't end here. After the bunch of
bananas is harvested, the plant itself dies. The root system, however,
doesn't. Other Banana plants will grow up from the root system.
When we put our priority into bringing one person to Christ, we complete
our purpose for that one; but if we are properly rooted in Jesus, then
we have the potential to send up other shoots, to produce more "flowers
The story just keeps getting better and better!
So just how do we make the Great Commission our #1 priority?
The Bible gives us some clues:
1. Study God's Word: "Do
your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does
not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."
(2 Tim. 2:15 NIV)
2. Be proud to be God's child: "For I am
not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings
salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the
Gentile." (Rom. 1:16 NIV)
3. Know who you are in Christ. You
are His handiwork, His hands and feet: "For we are God's handiwork,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance
for us to do." (Eph. 2:10 NIV)
4. Always be prepared:
"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an
answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you
have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." (1 Peter 3:15
5. Pray for God to open doors: "Then he said to his
disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the
Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest
field.'" (Matt. 9:37-38 NIV)
Don't have an evangelistic
calling on your life? Then take lessons from the Banana plant. Make it
your #1 priority to bring someone to Christ. But don't forget to stay
rooted and grounded in Jesus by studying God's Word, by knowing who you
are in Him, being proud to be God's child, praying for God to open the
doors, and always being prepared. When you do these things, then you
will truly be able to bring more and more people to the Lord.
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author --
"Aboard God's Train -- A
Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.