“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun…Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before….”
Ecclesiastes 1:9-10; 3:15, NIV.
Have you ever been to an orchard to pick fruit? It can be quite an experience. In the summers when my father-in-law would come to visit us, he and I would always make a trip to the peach orchard. Our whole family loves peaches when they are in season. In fact, I don’t think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t like fresh peaches.
Upon getting to the orchard, we would grab a bushel basket for our peaches. Then, we would head up and down the rows of trees, looking for the ripest peaches for immediate consumption. Often, “immediate” meant, “eat this right now!” Oh, how delicious are these beauties when they are ripe and ready to eat! Sometimes, however, we would spot a peach within an arms-reach that looked ready. We would pick it, bite into it and be disappointed because it was hard and not sweet as we had anticipated. We had been fooled by the outward appearance and enticed by the easy availability.
Our world is a lot like a fruit orchard, filled with temptations of every kind. Relationships, values, and the list go on and on. You and I often yield, settling for what is in easy reach, rather than “climbing a little higher” for the ripest and sweetest “fruit.” Why do we do this? The answers are as varied and vast as the list of temptations itself. It is so much a part of our human nature to seek the path of least resistance, avoid push back or risk rejection of any kind. Even those who are the most strong-willed find temptation hard to resist at times. And, by the way, I certainly do not have all of the answers; but, God’s Word does.
With grandchildren who are entering their teen years, the topic of temptation has been on my mind quite a lot lately. Having already been down this road, I know what lies ahead and want to try and help them as they navigate their way. They are each different in their personalities, so how they respond will be different also. It is funny how every generation, including my own, has thought theirs was unique. Of course, the culture does change, and temptations, like clothes styles, may look different from ones of the past, but underneath, the temptations are still the same. I do believe, however, for our current generation, one thing that is very different and adds color to my metaphor of the orchard is the immediate gratification they face each and every day. With the various modern devices, they literally hold temptation in their hands. And, it comes in lovely colors and varying styles that make the owners feel more powerful and desirable. Constant connection on these devices also adds to this misconception.
If you ask an orchard grower which of the fruit on the tree is sweetest, they will tell you it is at the top of the tree where it is exposed to the warmth of the sun. It isn’t as easy to reach but is worth the climb. Our children, today, need our encouragement to reach higher when making choices. They will pass through this particular “orchard” only once. The “Son” is shining, and the “fruit” waiting for them at the top is sweeter and more satisfying than they could ever imagine!