Tale of Two Orchards :: by Don Twobears

There once were two apple orchards side by side, one was owned by Fred and the other by Harry. Both men had grown up in the apple business and had done a great deal of work with the idea in mind of having a prosperous yearly harvest. The trees had been carefully picked as young sprouts tended routinely, watered and fertilized carefully.

From dawn to dusk the two men worked and labored making sure the soil was carefully held at a certain balance between acidic and alkaline levels. This assured the men that the root systems would remain viable and strong, that the trees would be able to withstand times of plentiful rain and times of short rain

The roots would stretch and weave themselves throughout the land, maintaining an abundance of nutrition from the soil. As the trees began to bear blossoms, the men sprayed their crops with insecticides and fungicides, to ward off disaster. Both men had talked together and sometimes worked together on problems, both at present and in the near future, friends from the beginning. The years had passed all too quickly and the trees were tall and now full of blossoms.

Fred was a quiet man of few words and knew what hard work was and never once backed away from it. In 1954 he had met and married a wonderful woman named Margaret, a godly woman from a God-fearing family in the next town over. In time, Margaret was able to convince Fred to attend church with her and two years later Fred was born-again to Jesus Christ. From the beginning Fred prayed earnestly for the apple trees, both his and for the trees belonging to Harry, for rain and soil strength.

The Lord blessed Fred and Margaret with two sons who Fred hoped would be willing to continue the apple business as they grew. Fred spent more time teaching his sons the business, how the soil condition was so very important and crucial to a good harvest.

How he would walk among the trees and talk with the Lord and at times sing a few hymns, though his voice was anything but a singer’s voice. Every night Fred spent an hour reading the Bible and talking with the Lord about his life, his family’s welfare and the welfare of the trees.

The orchard was full and began producing big red and juicy apples. People would come from miles around just to see the apple blossoms in the spring and purchase the apples in the fall of that year. Fred had gone so far as to learn and create his own bee farm, which helped with the pollination and nice jars of honey as a bonus. Fred had done well and he continually praised the Lord for the prosperity of his apples and honey.

Harry was the same age as Fred and yet his life did not follow the same path as Fred’s. Even with the advice and help from Fred, Harry experienced one problem after another. Harry became a little bitter and resentful with time. He married Lauren one year after Fred and Margaret had been married.

Although Lauren was a good woman, she never knew the Lord, as did Margaret. Every single year the two men worked almost alongside each other, spoke often and endeavored to do the exact same things and at the same times.

Yet years later, Harry had too many problems. His apples were not quite as big and juicy as Fred’s, the trees seemed to lack the same luster and yet they were doing the exact same things. Every spring there were fewer and fewer blossoms and thus fewer bees pollinating the trees, Harry’s trees seemed prone to certain fungi that never plagued Fred’s trees.

This particular situation puzzled both men and as the problem got worse, Harry began to drink and spend less time on his trees. In a short few years Lauren decided to leave Harry and take his two daughters with her and the hole that Harry was in got deeper and deeper.

Fred went into overtime and began taking over more and more responsibility with Harry’s trees as with his own, but the situation just wouldn’t get any better. Finally Harry had to sell his side of the orchard and Fred bought it. Fred paid Harry more than everything was worth; he felt sorry for the plight of his friend and neighbor.

Fred’s sons eventually took over the two orchards. They had to rebuild Harry’s orchard and start from the beginning, but the results were more than worth it. Fred’s family continued to grow as the sons eventually grew up and got married to good women like Margaret. Not only did the orchards prosper but so did the family with the inclusion of grandsons and granddaughters.

Harry passed away a lonely man devoid of the simple pleasures of a good family; a sad discarded alcoholic in the city where no one knew him, much less cared about him. Harry died in his parking lot “home.” Seven years later Fred took ill, for reasons unknown, but it didn’t matter, Fred knew where he was going. Fred passed away quietly one bright and sunny Monday morning with all his kids and friends and neighbors around him.

Instead of a funeral and viewing, the family decided to celebrate Fred’s life and they bought some more property and began a new orchard in his remembrance and named all the apples “Fred’s Luscious Red.” With the money from the “Fred’s Luscious Red” orchard, they built a new church with a school from kindergarten to the 12th Grade.

A plaque was placed with Fred’s face on it and the sentiment on it reads: “Nothing is ever granted to anyone with out hard work, nothing is ever harvested with out the Lord’s perfect will in it.”

James 5:7-8, emphasis added:

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”

I will not endeavor to say there is a moral to the story, but suffice it to say this is what the prophet Isaiah wrote:

Isaiah 40.28-3, emphasis added:

“Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

I am unable to utter any better words than those in the previous verses. In this day and age of anger, hatred and confusion, the Lord is the only answer there is for all people. We see the 70-80 years of our lives quickly flash by us and we wonder why only those years, why not more? It’s because we were never meant to be here for any other reason than to come to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Master.

We are now taking our very first step and it is a step into eternity and the difference is where we will spend eternity─in heaven or in hell. The Lord has seen fit to give us a gift (Jesus Christ) so precious that it can change the fabric of time. Please remember:

James 4:1-7, emphasis added:

From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?

Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, the spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

As our lives and the world spiral out of control, when there seems to be no way out, when life does nothing but drag you down, call upon the name of Jesus Christ (the name above all other names). HE will answer you. HE will save you. HE will change your life. HE will take you in the Rapture. HE will, HE will, because HE is GOD!