A Merry Heart Can Make Things Peachy Keen

IMG_0160For Lord’s Day, August 18, 2013

Dear Saints,

Today, I was a little disappointed.  I took a break from sermon preparation to inspect the several fruit trees in the manse’s backyard.  I have been nursing several of them to health for the three years that we’ve been here, and keenly interested in their improvement and production.  Many of you often hear about how the trees are bearing better leaves, blossoms, and fruit.

So many of you know that I have been eagerly awaiting the harvest of our peach tree.  We nearly cut it down last year because it was such a drag: nearly no leaves, never any fruit, and lots of ugly fungus. Due to time, we didn’t get around to uprooting it, so we applied more fungus killer and cut some more branches down to give it another try this year. The result: more leaves with no fungal infections, the bark was much more healthy, and it was the first time we had gorgeous pink blossoms in the spring!  And then, came peach buds!

Well, many of you know we’ve been down to one peach for a while as things matured.  I think the tree needs more time getting healthy, and more water.  But that one peach has been my pride and joy. It’s my other “baby” I show off to everyone who visits (thanks to those of you who humor me with good humor).  The peach has looked so great! It was going to make it!

Today, that peach was suspiciously loose.  As I gingerly moved it, it nearly fell off due to the hole on the top just under its stem, where some ants were crawling around.  The inside of the pit had been cracked open a bit. So I nearly chucked it.  But as some of you know, we have been planning to have a peach party of sorts for a while now.  And so, thinking of our Bible verse for tomorrow evening’s sermon, I cleaned it up and sliced it open. It was fine!  So as we planned, the family sat around the table as I sliced it into thin sections, we thanked God for our one peach, and we truly enjoyed it together!.  The fuzzy feel, fruity aroma, and juicy, tasty fiber was all worth the wait. We didn’t just enjoy the peach, we enjoyed each other and we enjoyed God and we enjoyed life. (See pictures below if you’re interested to see our lone peach and our first of what we hope to be annual peach parties!).

And guess what we immediately found ourselves talking about as we wiped our faces and fingers of peach juice? How we are going to get right back to taking care of that peach tree so it produces even more next time!  Its younger neighbor, our orange tree, nearly didn’t make it after all.  No oranges two years ago. Some blossoms and developing buds that all fell off early on last year. But this year, we’ve got 10-12 oranges maturing — Lord willing, they will certainly make it. So this one peach has us now eager to bring more life into that peach tree and see if we can’t produce a similar crop to the orange tree next year.  If so, you may be enjoying a peach pie in the fellowship hour next August!

My point is, the potential for enjoying life had us not give in to a dismal dismissal of our peach party.  And our happiness with having preserved a little life made us eager to produce more life.  Here’s the verse that motivated me to give the poor peach a try before playing hoops with it and my garbage can:

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. (Proverb 17:22)

Beloved, may you make merry to bring back peaches into the parched and sickly areas of your life — maybe just one this year, but something that can lead to producing many more next season!  A merry heart simply can do that kind of good when applied to all of life.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant

Van Leuven Family Album: Peach Party, August 17, 2013:

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