I want you to imagine that you are sitting in a group and I am speaking. Now, imagine that I’m holding an apple in my hand…a red, clean, crisp apple.
As I hold it up and everyone is looking I ask, “How many apples am I holding?” Faces stare with a matter-of-fact look, wondering why I’m asking such an obvious question. Someone mutters quietly in the back of the room, “One”. As I pause and wait for another answer, suddenly a new thought dawns. Eyes widen, smiles break across their faces. Another one answers, more confidently even surprisingly, “A million!” Now everyone sees the apple in a whole new way.
In one sense, the first person was right. I am holding only one apple, but within that apple are seeds. Seeds, that if planted and cultivated, could turn into trees that could produce hundreds of more apples containing seeds, that could produce thousands of trees…orchards of trees…millions of apples! While I’m holding one apple, I’m also holding the potential for millions more.
Your life is the same as this apple. You have only one life to live, but bound up in that life is the potential to impact and change countless lives. Who knows how many people could be impacted by your life? Only God knows.
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At this point, I say something like this, “The one big question that determines whether this apple remains alone or turns into an orchard of apples is this – Will you consume or will you invest? You can choose to consume this apple and enjoy its flavor for a brief moment. Then, I take a big bite out of the apple. Or I can choose to cut this apple open and invest its seeds, in the hopes that they will produce a harvest to come.”
This same big question will also determine your impact on this earth. You can choose to consume your life on yourself – pursuing your career, your hobbies, your interests or your plans. Then, at the end of your life, you will have consumed as much of life as possible but left nothing behind. What remains, like an apple core, will be buried and quickly forgotten. But, there is another option. You can choose to invest your life. You can choose to take the things you have learned about following Jesus – knowing Him deeply, and sharing the Gospel with others – and you can strategically, intentionally, and consistently invest those things in others. And if you invest your life, you will be amazed at what God will do through you. Paul writes in (Galatians 6.9 NIV), “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
This is my prayer for you: I’m praying that you will walk with Jesus deeply and personally, abiding in Him every day. I’m praying that you will reach out to the people in your life who need the message of hope and share all that Jesus has done for you. And, I’m praying that you will invest your life in a few who will take what you have given them and pass it on to others. And one day, we will stand together among the orchard of changed lives and praise God that we got a chance to be used for His glory.
By Craig Etheredge of discipleFIRST. Used by permission.