June 29, 2020

In the Apple Orchard

Lee Sahng-hwa from Daegu, Korea

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Whenever the harvest season comes, farmers need a lot of helping hands. They are so busy that Koreans describe the situation this way: “Even a poker which is used for stirring the fire has no time to lie on the ground.” And also, they are always short-handed.

Feeling sorry for farmers, one sunny Sunday, the brothers and sisters of Zion gathered together for a volunteer service at the farm. We went to an apple orchard located in Yeongju, Gyeongbuk Province. The orchard presented a great sight with red ripe apples.

First, the owner of the orchard explained to us what we were supposed to do. He explained what we needed to be careful about when picking the apples and how to put them in boxes. He emphasized several times that the last step of putting the harvested apples in the boxes was the most important.

He said we should not throw the apples or press them in the boxes, and asked us earnestly again and again never to pick up any apples from the ground and put them in the boxes. It was because although they looked fine on the outside and seemed to have no cracks, they were actually bruised and rotten on the inside.

After listening to precautions, we began in earnest to harvest apples. The apples hanging on the trees were about two to three meters tall and looked so appetizing. Since it was my first time seeing an apple tree, I was amazed to see many apples hanging from small and thin branches.

I also saw silver vinyl sheets spread all over the orchard ground. The owner said fruit needs to receive enough sunlight to ripen well, but the bottoms and back sides of the apples do not receive enough sunlight. In this case, the silver vinyl sheets on the ground reflect the light and the apples can receive the sunlight evenly.

In the middle of picking the apples, we found a leaf stuck on an apple. I carefully took the leaf off the apple, and noticed the part that was hidden by the leaf was green though the rest of the apple was ripe and red by receiving enough sunlight. I could see how much effect the sunlight has on the growth of apples.

The owner said the value of an apple drops a lot even if only one little part is not ripe. So when he did the final checkup on the harvested apples to put them in the boxes, he checked every part of them, only put the well-ripe red apples of the best quality in the boxes, and separated the apples of less quality from them.

While picking apples and wrapping them, I could not help but check myself. I thought it’ll be like this when God who is our spiritual farmer separates the wheat from the weeds. I seriously thought about whether I was worthy to be sorted as a fruit of the best quality, or if I was unripe or rotten on the inside though I looked like a good fruit on the outside. I also thought if my character was not ripe yet, being far from the light of life which God had shone on me.

Having a humble mind, serving, being considerate, and putting on the full armor of God—all the teachings that God has given us are from God’s love to change us into complete beings and lead us into the heavenly barn. God is worried that we might be eliminated from the line of good fruit, and takes care of each and every soul with love.

If all the heavenly family members, including me, fill our spirits with the light of life which God has given us, and if we take care of each other, following God’s examples, we will ripe and be found as good fruit some day.

When I began the volunteer service, I thought that I was there to help the farmer, but when the work was done, I realized that I had been given a great realization which I would never have gained from anywhere else. Now I know that the only thing left is to put into practice what I’ve realized.

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