Apple picking time? by Keith Hazell

When in the UK recently I told a story on myself as an illustration.

My next door neighbour used to have an apple tree in his garden surrounded by a fence and in the Fall time I would sneak over the fence and grab an apple, any apple, usually a green one and get back in my own yard.
These green apples were the cause of much pain and internal turmoil as they were indigestible. One day my neighbour said to me ” Keith if you want an apple from my tree go through the gate and not over the fence. Don’t just pick anyone but look for the red ones that are ripe. If you put your hand under a ripe one it will simply fall off by itself and be sweet to the taste”

I have come to understand that the same principle applies to bringing in the harvest of souls that God has laid before us in these days.

We have often grabbed at “green apples” and picked them, and suffered spiritually the same consequences as I had in the natural. Reading the book of Acts we see Ananias, Paul and Peter, who were sufficiently attuned to the Holy Spirit to hear him to direct them to homes where people were “ripe for the picking”

Tonight a neighbour of ours came to our door to talk in the bitter cold. When she left she had become a new creature in Christ because she responded to the claims of the gospel in our living room. This dear lady was originally from a Hindu home in India, but her family were raised by New Zealand missionaries who put them all through higher education programs.

Her story is so poignant, she had never responded to the Gospel, but was warmly open to the Good News. Last year around Christmas she stood on our doorstep and asked us if we had a bible she could borrow. She explained that she had already asked three neighbours but none had a bible (This is in the “christian” land of Canada) Her father liked to read his bible each day and left his in Calgary by mistake. We were so pleased to meet the need by offering a large print NIV for the father to read. He was so delighted that after Christmas we bought him one of his own.

Our neighbour, his daughter, expressed to Nova a desire for a similar bible and we bought one and presented it to her for her own reading. In Sept Nova visited her home and spent some time with her. Apart from that we had only spoken whilst out in the garden in the summer when she shared her lack of peace and the fact she could find it in no church she visited.

Today she told us that when Nova visited , it began a series of miracles in her life and she had come to thank us but had been unable to do so because we were out of the country. She was alight with happiness and has expressed a desire to come and join us every Thursday for our house church. Praise the Lord a red ripe apple came to us!! Before she left she prayed with us to receive Christ, and asked Nova what the “foreign language ” she was speaking when she prayed. Undoubtedly God has touched her and we are believing she will be able to get time off on Thursday Nights to join us.

Our neighbour told us ” I saw something different in you and your family and want to know about it” We explained to her about Christ in us shining through and she grasped it for herself.We told her of Grace, and that God used weak people and she was thrilled to hear it.

Maybe the people next door are “red apples”? Have we ever taken the trouble to “go out into the field” and check it out for ourselves! Perhaps we are more pre-occupied with going to church rather than being the church on the street where we live!!

1 comment

    • Saskia on 28 November, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Inspiring story, and it also shows that sometimes you might know someone for a while before they become “ripe”… and perhaps God uses us in the ripening process too?
    In any case, you are right about running ahead of God and trying to pick green apples so to speak. I always find it a challenge to remember that conversion is actually God’s job, not mine!

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