“What do you imagine when you picture a fruitful life with God?” Taste and See
Session 2 focused on the study of fruit found in scripture. Margaret Feinberg refers to herself as a frugivore – a person that would thrive on mostly fruit. I’d definitely join her in this designation. I would happily eat fruit all day long. When I think about fruit in the Bible, I quickly think of grapes. I was surprised to discover that the word, fruit, is mentioned over 200 times. During the video lesson, Margaret Feinberg highlighted several key fruit found throughout scripture. She chose to focus our attention, however, on the fig and the fig tree.
“Unlike most fruit trees, figs are multi-cropping, which means they are harvested numerous times each year…. some of the fig trees in ancient Israel were known to produce three per year, meaning they produced fruit nearly year-round. The Hebrew word for harvesting figs, oreh, means “light of dawn.” Because ripe figs spoil quickly, farmers must wake early daily to see if the next handful is harvestable. Those who harvest figs must live expectantly. Among religious Jews, sitting under a fig tree symbolizes devout study of the Torah. Just as the figs ripen slowly on the tree, so Scripture ripens with new discoveries as we study. The more one observes, the more one discovers.” Taste and See pg.58,59
On Day One of Session 2, we studied the importance of fruit in the Bible. We read from Old Testament passages that gave God’s instruction on the care of fruit trees during war and the proper times for harvesting. Through these readings, we learned that God was teaching his people their need for dependence on Him and His redeeming work of fruitful provision for them.
“Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:17-20
I find that as I walk daily with God, the more I display the fruit of my journey with Him. When I choose to do good, out of love for Him, I display the good fruit from a good tree. Others can recognize Him in me. I can’t make myself more fruitful only He can cultivate and grow more in me.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22,23
We were instructed for the lesson on Day Two to read the third chapter found in the Taste and See companion book. In this chapter, we read about Margaret Feinberg’s experience learning about and harvesting figs. She stated in the chapter that “[w]henever Jesus says, “Look at the fig tree,” he is challenging our notions of attentiveness and expectations.” She continued this train of thought by introducing the idea of change blindness. Change blindness is “a term describing our tendency to miss shifts in our immediate visual environment. We assume that if something dramatic changes right before our eyes, we will, of course, recognize the shift. But actually, it’s impossible for the human mind to fully process and be aware of every visual detail at all times.”(pg. 62) In our lesson, we were challenged to consider and apply this concept to our spiritual life. Our tendency is to become bogged down by the struggles, trials, and obstacles in our lives and we lose heart and hope. Like the fig tree that can yield a harvest of 10,000 to 75,000 figs each year, we are to live lives that expect Christ to be at work in them. We are to yield abundant harvests year after year.
“God isn’t waiting for one particular season in the distant future to yield fruitfulness in our lives. He’s working throughout every season and every harvesting cycle.” Taste and See pg. 66
Our lesson on Day Three focused on the gift of pruning. We read about the pruning of figs for a more abundant harvest and then turned to the scriptures to read about the pruning of grapes from the Gospel of John. We then answered soul searching questions about where we feel God is currently pruning areas of our life, where He had pruned our lives in the past to yield more fruit, and how these agricultural practices could be applied to our future as we daily walk with Him.
On Day Four, we read chapter four from the Taste and See companion book. During this lesson, our attention was shifted from fruit to bread. We read about the provision of manna that God gave His people in the wilderness. We then considered the waste of food and how we might become more attentive to our waste. We also read of the processes of harvesting and daily making bread in antiquity. We were challenged to consider how this life giving, communal, daily chore shifts our perception of the mention of bread in the Bible. Also, we were to reflect on how the communal nature of this act affects the way we participate in Holy Communion or the Eucharist.
“With every morsel of manna, God whispers that we are never meant to go it alone. With every morsel of communion, God whispers that we are never meant to go it alone.” Taste and See pg. 88
Session 2 concluded on Day Five with our activity lesson. We had our choice between four options. We could try some unusual fruits with our family and talk about the goodness of God in creating them. We could draw or paint a picture of the fruitful life we want God to give us as a visual prayer to Him. We could research the terms “food deserts” and “food insecurity” to better understand these needs in the United States and how we can help. Or, as our final option, we could make jam, jelly, or dehydrated fruits to give away as gifts.
“We must start to think differently about the fruitfulness of our daily lives. God invites us to find our satisfaction in him, in the fruit he’s yielding in us week after week, season after season, in quantities we never thought possible and in layers of jammy flavors we’ve never known before.” Taste and See pg. 67
Begin Session 3 lessons this week. We will be exploring bread and specifically, the Bread of Life.