Luxembourg Gardens, or Jardin du Luxembourg as the Parisiennes call it, is one of our favorite places to visit in Paris. Occasionally my husband and I enjoy taking a respite from the busy city to leisurely stroll the picturesque and peaceful grounds, especially on a warm sunny day. One particular visit to the park brought a delightful and peculiar surprise. We had spent a couple hours wandering around the garden, taking in the sights, sounds, and flavors the park had to offer—birds chirping, children squealing with excitement, a bright blue sky overhead, vibrant flowers all around, and a cone of chocolate gelato in my hand. As we headed toward the exit a glimpse of something unusual caught my eye. Was it my imagination, or was there something hiding high up in the ornate potted tree? I walked a bit closer, leaned in, and spied a girl peering at me from amongst the full branches. Our eyes locked and a sweet smirk came across her face. This young girl, about ten years of age, had managed to climb up into a big wooden planter and tuck herself securely into the tall limbs of the fruit tree. I soon realized that the girl-in-the-tree had an accomplice waiting below. Her younger sister aided in the afternoon endeavors—the older sister picked the fruit and then tossed it to her sister to gather from the ground. It was such a funny and amusing sight to encounter—I was immediately struck by the contrast between their act of frivolity and the immaculately manicured gardens that surrounded us. I wondered where their parents were and then noticed some adults lounging on a picnic blanket in the grass nearby, either oblivious to the children’s mischief, or maybe fully aware. Regardless, the two sisters worked in unison and were joyfully fruitful in their harvesting work.
Fruit is desirable, delicious, sweet, nourishing, and refreshing. It is pretty, pleasing, tasty, and aromatic.
The Bible has much to teach us about the importance of being fruitful. Fruitfulness is essential to the Christian life, and it is only possible by anchoring our lives to Jesus, surrendering to His will, seeking His plans and purpose, and by allowing His Spirit to fill us up and overflow through us. Fruitfulness cannot be achieved or maintained by our own effort—thank goodness. That would cause us to put a lot of pressure on ourselves and possibly seek our own glory. Jesus tells us to remain in Him and He promises to remain in us. He is loving, kind, good, and faithful; He is gentle, just, and patient with His children. He is our source of strength, peace, hope, and joy. We draw near to Him through prayer and by reading our Bibles; He blesses our hearts, refocuses our minds, and gives us what we need for daily living in this topsy-turvy world. He equips us to be a blessing to others—not out of obligation, but in grateful response for all Jesus has done for us. Jesus calls us to be fruitful and He enables us to be so. Fruitfulness is a result of our faith and evidence of our relationship with the Lord. He invites us to work alongside Him; He leads the way, and we joyfully follow.
John 15:4-5, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Little sister is down below, diligently gathering the fruit. Look closely and you'll see big sister high up in the branches reaching out to grasp more ripe produce. Have you ever seen such a cute harvester?