Bearing Fruit

First published September 2018

The Reverend John Chandler asks us to think about who (or what) we focus on in life.

It’s that time of the year again, when apple trees in the garden are laden with fruit – and the lawn underneath begins to look like a tennis court after practice! Will it be a good year for apples, after the hot summer with little rain?

Apples must be the most popular fruit in the world. Well you’d think so – but it isn’t; the tomato is, even though we use it as a vegetable. And in other parts of the world, the banana and watermelon are eaten in greater quantities. But here in England, mention fruit and the apple comes to mind first. Maybe that’s why Adam and Eve are often painted with an apple – though the Bible talks about ‘the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’, meaning that whatever is in our hearts becomes the fruit of our lives, be it wise or….. otherwise.

Apples are only mentioned 11 times in the Bible, and 5 of those speak of ‘the apple of my eye’. That phrase has quite a history, surfacing in 9th-century England, was used by Shakespeare and included in the 17th-century Bible as a translation of the original Hebrew. Literally, it means the ‘small person’ of the eye, the very centre, which is why it is called the pupil in modern language! And why ‘small person’? Because it’s said that, if you stare long enough into someone’s eyes, you will see a reflection of yourself in them. That’s never worked for me, as I wear glasses!

So the message is – whatever you concentrate on most ardently becomes ‘the apple of your eye’. You’d think that the Bible would command us to make God the apple of our eye, focusing on Him at all times; but it’s the other way round – the message is that each of us is uniquely and completely loved by God, and if it were only possible for us to fully concentrate on Him, we’d know that.

So who (or what) is the apple of your eye? There are various ways of proving that to yourself. What fills your free time? Where does most of your disposable money go? What is the focus of your hopes and dreams? Try concentrating on that for a while – I think it will bear fruit!