Friday, June 7, 2019

Outdoor Object Lesson 99: Apples To Apples


"What was sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word, and understands it, who most certainly bears fruit, and produces, some one hundred times as much, some sixty, some thirty." Matthew 13:23 (WEB)


Apples are an amazing fruit. They are one of the most popular fruits in the world. Part of the reason they are so popular is there are so many varieties. Whether you prefer sweet or tart, soft or crisp, you are likely to find one you like. Many varieties that grow wild are not very tasty, though. Wild apples tend to be very tart or bitter. Apple growers have a word to refer to these. They call them "spitters" because they taste so gross you want to spit them out. But there are also plenty of apples grown in orchards that taste wonderful.

An interesting fact about apples is that every new apple seed will produce a new variety. If you buy your favorite apple at the store, eat it, and then plant the seeds, the apples it grows will taste different. This effect is called extreme heterozygosity. The flowers of an apple tree must be pollinated by a different variety. This ensures that every apple tree will be a little bit different. It means that apple trees can adapt quickly, and that is why they are able to grow all over the world in many different climates.1

Have you ever heard the expression, 'the apple doesn't fall far from the tree'? This expression is used to describe how a child is very similar to their parents. An apple falls to the ground right below the tree it grew from. So if you want to know what kind of apple tree is growing, you can pick up an apple underneath and figure it out. When someone says this about a person, it is often negative. For example, if a child is caught being naughty, or has a short temper, someone might say, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree," meaning that child is similar to their parents.

It is true that we share a lot of similarities with our parents. We inherit their physical characteristics and their thought patterns, and their emotional characteristics. We usually pick up some of their good and bad habits. We know from the Bible that we inherit a tendency to sin from our parents. We cannot avoid it. It is true that the apple does not fall far from the tree.

But inside every apple is a seed that will grow into something different. It will produce a completely different and unique variety of apple that has never been seen before. It could be a bitter-tasting apple, or it could turn out sweet. It depends on what is in the seed. Did you know that you can decide what type of apples you will produce in your life? You decide if you will let your parents influence who you become. You can choose to change who you become. It is never too late, even if you are an adult. You can choose to produce bitter or sweet fruit.

In the Key Text, Jesus compares the love of God to a seed that was planted in the ground. It grows and produces much more fruit than was planted. It produces good fruit, the fruit of the spirit, which include love, joy, and peace. When God's seed is planted inside us, we become sweet and nice. We are no longer bitter. It does not matter who our parents were. God's power, when planted in our hearts, can overcome and change us into something good.


What would you change about yourself if you could?

What habits or characteristics have you inherited from your parents that you don't like?

What do you want to become?

Will you ask Jesus to help you become the best version of yourself that you can be?

1. Rebecca Rupp, "The History of the "Forbidden" Fruit," National Geographic online, (JULY 22, 2014), accessed May 28, 2019 from

Written by David F. Garner
Photo credit:  Kookay via