Saturday, October 02, 2010

Lessons in the dreaded yard. Part 8.

Remember this tree? The one from this post?
Well, right after I wrote this post, it started to grow fruit! But it was weird fruit. I don't know if you've ever seen a kumquat... but these are NOT IT:

And also, it started growing these horrible thorns:
And then my very observant husband one day noticed this:
you can't see it very well here, but this is a shot of the tree showing how the bottom of the tree had a teensy little kumquat on it! And then he noticed that the leaves on the bottom of the tree (around the fruit) were long, straight and one per stem. The leaves on the top 5 feet of the tree had completely different leaves. They were shorter, more curled, and were three to a stem:
So I ran in to Google some answers.  Apparently, this is what happened, in a nutshell:

Evidently, the roots of a kumquat tree are very fragile, so sometimes growers will graft it onto a different type of tree hat has stronger roots- the second tree is called the rootstock. Then, if it's done right, the tree will grow into a kumquat tree with a nice strong foundation. Unfortunately, we bought this particular tree from Wal*Mart. Whomever they purchased this tree from grafted the kumquat onto what's called an Trifoliate Orange- basically it's an ornamental tree- one that bears nearly useless fruit. This was apparently done badly, and the rootstock took over, growing so tall (about 7 feet) and taking so much of the nutrients (can't even type that word without doing it all Nacho Libre style,nuuuutrients, but I digress) that the poor little kumquat had little to no chance.
So, we talked about what to do about this. Our choices were to pull the whole thing out and plant a new kumquat tree, to live with the Trifoliate Orange instead, or try to save the Kumquat by removing the branches from the rootstock tree and taking the risk of killing the whole thing.

My husband elected the third option. "No sense in having a fruitless fruit tree." So, he got out his hacksaw and tree pruners (I'm just making up the names for these tools) and went to work:

It took about 15 minutes for him to carefully prune off all of the branches of the Trifoliate Orange.  The spikes were seriously sharp so we had to take things slowly to avoid being shanked.  As I watched  helped, I mused out loud that I felt bad chopping down a perfectly good tree. This sent my husband into a spontaneous sermon...
I don't feel bad at all. This is not the fruit that I planted.. SNIP
This part of the tree is useless... SNIP
It is thorny and dangerous to even walk by... SNIP
And letting it grow is making it so the good branches can't even grow... SNIP And this is my Garden...I have the right to trim away useless branches to make space for the tree that I planted and have plans for... SNIP
As Christians....

If you knew my husband you were be CRACKING up right now like I was... the man is not really the 'spontaneous sermon' kind of guy. He's more of the 'put feet to your faith' variety. But there was something about the blatant object lesson in the throwing of the useless branches in the 'fire' (in this case our 'green' garbage can) that was irresistible to even him- a quiet guy who would sooner live a sermon than preach one with words. 

And as he spun his sermon about how important it is for us to cut out the parts of our lives that are bearing useless fruit to save our energy for the fruit bearing ones, and as He preached about letting God prune us before we are absolutely useless to him, and as he expounded about God's right to prune the trees He planted, a feeling of joy washed over me.  Not just because it was a rare glimpse into my usually spiritually private husband's heart, but also because it was another example of God just making himself so OBVIOUS in everyday life.

I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.  You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. John 15:1-3

It's been said that if Christians just lived and put into action what they have already learned, even if they never heard another sermon, never read another 'self help' book, but just applied the lessons they have already learned- this world would see a revival like none throughout history.

I think that the thing I took away from this particular time in the garden is that the sermon that spouted out of my husband did not just come out of the clear blue sky.  It came from a combination of lessons and readings that he's done over the years- and when the reminder presented itself- the Word just sprang out.

If I want to become an effective, fruitful Christian, I need to open my eyes and my heart to the reminders that God has placed throughout my day that reinforce the lessons I already know... realizing He has ALREADY pruned me with the Word I have ALREADY heard

and then? I need to do something with these lessons... I need to bear actually PRODUCTIVE fruit... kind that is not just to look at, but that can be used... the kind that God planted.  I don't want to settle for being an "ornamental Christian"... I've already been pruned, and now it's time for me to produce.

Just like our cute little Kumquat tree is doing now... which will forever remind me of God's willingness to do whatever necessary to remind me of His plans for us...

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
      The skies display his craftsmanship.
  Day after day they continue to speak;
      night after night they make him known.
 They speak without a sound or word
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
Psalm 19:1-4



Vindiciti said...

Wow. Awesome.

All that from a bunch of useless tree.

I'd rather be the little teeny kumquat.

Carpool Queen said...

Most excellent, my friend. Encourages me to be ruthless about getting bad stuff out of MY house.

MyShilohRanch said...

Oh man, I was all good with the gardening analogy and God speaking through Jason, as he attacked that tree to save the little kumquat. Awesome lessons there were working slowly into my heart. Then, thanks to Carpool Queen, now, conviction has driven straight into my heart! And I realize, that I MUST get much MORE ruthless with the junk in MY house! LOVE IT! LOVE IT!

Rose said...

It's been so much fun watching the transformation!

andrea frazer said...

Seriously, this is your best post ever. I knew where it was going from the start (sorry, the writer in me) but then you took it to a whole new level. Your husband's impromptu sermon? Hilarious! This really spoke to me. I am going to read it now to my husband who is not a believer, but sure will get the gardening references! (Maybe one day a bolt of lightening will fall out of the sky and he'll be reminded, once again, of what he already knew... from this blog first!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for good stuff

Anonymous said...

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