James McFaddin, Pastor New Life Church, Castlegar

James McFaddin, Pastor New Life Church, Castlegar

FAITH: What’s growing on your tree?

Castlegar pastor James McFaddin talks about producing good fruit

Submitted by James McFaddin, pastor New Life Church

When I was a kid I grew up on the prairies, Manitoba to be exact. Although I’m very thankful to be here in the Kootenays surrounded by the beauty of the mountains, rivers, lakes and valleys, I have fond memories of being on my parent’s acreage and learning about fruit trees, gardening, and caring for the land we’ve been given.

One thing I always enjoyed was picking apples from our crab apple tree. They were tart, tasty, and every so often you’d get one that was a bit sweeter. It was like winning a prize! They also made for delicious apple pies!

It might seem obvious, but the only things that grew from that crab apple tree were — crab apples! Nothing else. That’s what it produced, and it produced well. Why did it produce so well? Because it was taken care of. It was in good soil. It was pruned, watered, and in a location where it got the right sun exposure.

One thing it wasn’t — an orange tree. I know that’s a very rudimentary observation, but it’s true. Our apple tree was not an orange tree. Another basic (yet important) observation is that the tree itself wasn’t an apple. It was a tree that produced apples. The branches that came off the tree received water from the ground that the tree was rooted in, and the leaves used photosynthesis to turn sunlight into energy and the needed chemicals that caused the tree to produce.

There’s a passage from the Bible in the book Galatians. It goes like this: “… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Here, the author is talking about the Spirit of God. You might be thinking this is a little strange, but lets look a bit further. Again in the Bible, in the book called John, another statement is made by Jesus himself. He says this, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit …”

Why is this important? Well, if we want to produce good fruit from our lives, we need to know that there’s something special that exists in that production process that is far greater than just sheer will. A branch cannot will itself to produce good fruit. A branch that is attached to a healthy tree, which is rooted in healthy soil can produce good fruit.

This is our lives. Are we attached to the right tree? Is that tree rooted in good soil? Are we okay with getting pruned, trimmed, and worked on?

For this New Year, let’s ask ourselves these questions: Am I attached to the right tree (meaning, am I connected to the proper, healthy things)? Am I okay with bring pruned so I can be a better producer of good fruit?

And finally, the hard question: Have I been calling myself an apple tree when I’m really producing oranges?

Again, as I usually end these letters, I’ll say this: If you’re struggling to sort out what this all looks like, I’d encourage you to simply ask God and say, “Heavenly Father, I want to produce better fruit from my life. Please show me how to get connected to the True Vine so I can bear good fruit.”

James McFaddin is the pastor of New Life Church

READ MORE: FAITH: Be anxious for nothing


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