Scrumping Apples

Apple Scrumping used to be a ‘thing’. For those who are unsure what it is, it amounts to picking fruit from trees and eating it, without the tree owner’s permission. Actually, it is theft, dressed up in an old word to sound ‘traditional’ and more like something kids could get away with. When I was a child, for the more timid children, scrumping involved leaning into someone else’s garden, grabbing the nearest apple, and making off down the road.  The more brazen jumped over walls and collected fruit in their school bags. If you have not heard the word before that is maybe because fewer of us have fruit trees and many children today prefer sweets and soft drinks.

As a society, it might be fair to say that the things that people value the most today are, freedom, prosperity, and happiness. We crave the chance to do the things we choose without constraint, the finances to fund both the things we need and those we desire, and on top of this, we pursue the experiences and relationships that we hope will make us happy. These are the ‘fruit’ we set our hearts on, and many of us expend most of our time and energy pursuing them.

But the truth is that these are fruits, and we know that fruits grow on trees. The tree that produces the fruits of freedom, prosperity, and happiness grows slowly and it does not produce its fruit very often. For these fruits to grow the tree needs deep roots and good soil which is rich with goodness, truth, and beauty.

I suspect, that though the practice of scrumping apples may be on the decline in this country, the scrumping of the fruits of freedom, prosperity, and happiness is on the rise. When all we want for our children, and for ourselves, is to be wealthy, happy, and fulfilled then the rarer this fruit is likely to become.

Because we know that trees only grow well and bear good fruit if they are tended and nourished themselves. As individuals, communities, and a nation if we were to prioritise the planting of these trees and the pursuit of the nutrients they need to grow, the good, the true, and the beautiful, then as a by-product of our efforts there would be more freedom, more resources and more happiness to go around. To focus wholly on the fruit is a dangerous mistake, which will only lead to less of what we desire the most.

The Bible is full of images of trees and fruit. Jesus himself explained that good trees bear good fruit something that bad trees can never do. He also explained that we would be known by the fruit we bear and that the things we pursue will impact ourselves and those around us either for good or evil. Can I encourage you then, to do all you can to pursue truth, to try to make goodness something that you aspire to, and to be always willing to give value to the beauty in the world around you because by doing so you will see the fruits of freedom, prosperity, and happiness begin to grow.

But Jesus also likened himself to a type of tree, a vine that produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness too. The Bible tells us that if we learn to keep close to him, that we can produce these same fruits ourselves as well. And surely it is these fruits that will allow us to build firmer friendships, form stronger relationships, and enhance the communities and country in which we live.

Be encouraged.

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