The Difference Between Growing Apricots and Tomatoes

When spring comes to California, the green grass covers the valleys, yellow California poppies cover the hills, and snow caps the mountains. And in the rich San Joaquin Valley, the apricots bloom. I was with an eighty-year-old friend one spring morning, sweeping down the freeway into the valley, and remarked on the apricots, in full glory. Harold smiled, ?I know the farmer who planted those trees,? he said, pointing to a magnificent stand of forty-foot trees.
We swung off the highway, and approached the farmhouse. We rang the door. A young woman answered.
?I?m looking for Jim Harris. I knew him years ago,? Harold declared.
Jim Harris III?? she asked. Jim Harris III was a man in his twenties. We were puzzled for a moment. Then it dawned on us. Harold had known this man?s grandfather!
Those gorgeous apricot trees had known three generations of farmers. Jim Harris I had planted them, but the roots had sunk deep in the soil, the fruit had grown sweet, for three generations.
It takes time to grow a tree and a church. Church work is not like growing tomatoes, something we do in one season. We?re developing faith amongst God?s people. We are here, in this place, because past generations did what they should. The value of our work in turn will be seen in the character of our children.
?The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches? (Matthew 13:31,32).
It?s the difference between Ketchup and apricot nectar!

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