When I lived in Mexico I had a wonderful friend named John. John is legendary in my circles for his faith, joy and Christ-like heart. One of those guys that you just shake your head when you hear him mentioned. The kind of head shaking that you do when your too impressed for words.
John used to take the Greyhound monthly from from northern California all the way to five hours south of the Tijuana border crossing. He' d come to check on the garden that he'd started. It had hundreds of different varieties of fruit trees, grape vines, nut trees. There was one fig tree I remember that had been cultivated to have 17 different kinds of figs grafted in. His master vision though was the 70 acre macadamia tree orchard he had planted. He had figured out from his garden that a certain macadamia tree trunk and another species of macadamia tree branch when grafted together would thrive in the arid, yet agriculturally rich farm lands of the northern Baja California peninsula. John, all 80 years old and barely 5 feet tall of him helped to plant the huge orchard as a way of helping our orphanage and outreach create an economically viable way of supporting ourselves. John is one of my heroes. That's not hyperbole.
Whenever John would come to the Baja he would also take lots of time to share stories from his fascinating life. He was Charismatic in every sense of the word. In theology and deed. We had many a night where he would pray and prophesy with and over us. He had this knack where whenever he would pray or prophesy over you he would do it in rhyme. Not kidding. It was amazing. We would have these great, nutso, home group nights that anyone from the outside looking through a window at us and probably run away screaming to call the bible answer man. But the reality is that there was so much love and community. John just exuded Jesus to everyone. It was always Christ-centered and we always felt safe and secure with John. That's not hyperbole.
John knew plants. John knew fruit. As I observe around the world the interesting things that are happening, sometimes I'm afraid now. I don't know what to think. So all I can do is remember to be like John and follow what Jesus told us, watch for the fruit. No good tree bears bad fruit and likewise, no bad tree bears good fruit. The tricky part though is we aren't nearly the professional agriculturalist or agronomist that John was.
As I observe (and am confused), everyone has there own way to determine what is good fruit. I'm reading around the Internet and there is a lot of talk about what is happening in Lakeland, Florida. Some is absolutely visceral and explosive. Some is glowing. I look at these different groups and wonder at how they judge the fruit. Each of their own reasoning is important and meaningful to them yet, the two sides seem to be at odds with their different value systems and theological priorities.
I think of my little, strange, legendary friend John and remember how Jesus always just flowed out of him everywhere he went. How he had a vision to see a seed become an orchard. God bless him for teaching us a little how to judge what is fruitful.