Can there be a more bucolic, picturesque time of year than the annual trip with the family to the apple orchard? The Ottawa Valley features many commercial orchard farms, enticing people with not only diverse apple varieties to choose from, but wagons to carry pickers and apples to the gate, hay rides, petting zoos, and home-made pies and butter tarts from the on-site bakery. My brother has a lovely apple tree near his home, with pink, crispy apples to enjoy, at least the ones the deer haven’t managed to snack on! We have witnessed the doe and her fawns doing just that. We aren’t the only ones enjoying this annual treat.
Jesus spoke to His disciples about a different kind of fruit they were to bear. “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” (John 15:16-17 ESV) His followers enjoyed the tremendous privilege of being friends with Jesus, seeing prayers answered, and experiencing the blessings with Him first hand. These treasures weren’t earned, but rooted in the truth that Jesus chose them first, to develop into people who would remain and thrive, all to God’s glory.
Answered prayer is connected with bearing spiritual truth. As we know the Lord better and better, our prayers become aligned with His purposes, so that when we pray, He will give what we ask in Jesus’ name. When Jesus left them to return to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to not only comfort the disciples, but to continue the activity of asking and receiving. To ensure the growth of their ministry, the disciples were not to separate and go their own ways, but stay together and love each other.
We enjoy the fruits of the season, and the joy of togetherness. As we look to God in daily prayer, thank Him for choosing us and causing us to be fruitful. Thank Him for the treasure of answered prayer, which we enjoy on our own, and in the company of faithful believers.
Prayer: Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One, give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son. And now let the weak say, “I am strong”. Let the poor say, “I am rich, because of what the Lord has done for us”. Give thanks! (Henry Smith, Give Thanks, 1978), Amen.