In our region fresh strawberries are available for only about five weeks out of the year. Now is that season! There is no comparison between those berries picked from the field while they are at the perfect ripeness and those that are picked too early and shipped to grocery stores. Honestly, I do not know how the local stores sell their shipped-in strawberries when the ones just picked from the local field are available! The color, juiciness and flavor of the "home grown" berries is beyond comparison!
The berries in the grocery store may appear to be ready for eating but tasting them is a great disappointment. Why are the local strawberries so superior to the others? I believe it has everything to do with timing. Let's refer to Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 11. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...He has made everything beautiful in its time..." There is a time for picking and eating strawberries. It cannot be rushed. One must wait until the berries are fully ripe if they want the best flavor and juiciness.
Jesus demonstrated the importance of timing and producing appropriately when He was leaving Bethany with the disciples. "The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to find out if it had any fruit. When He reached it, He found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then He said to the tree, 'May no one ever eat fruit from you again'..." (Mark 11:13-14)
A quick reading of this passage makes one ask, "If this was not the season for figs, why would Jesus curse the tree?" We must look at everything that is happening with this tree. The tree appeared to have something to give because it was in full leaf. Figs start to be produced on the branches before the leaves are fully formed. There should have been some figs on that tree since it was full of leaves. Jesus cursed the fig tree because it held an empty promise.
Interestingly, the fig tree is used to represent the nation of Israel. Jesus was giving His disciples an object lesson. Judgment will come to those who appear to be fruitful but are not. The people of Israel cannot be fruitful unless they acknowledge Jesus/Yeshua as their true Messiah. This is the same for every Believer.
Jesus said, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last..." (John 15:16) We must stay connected to the Lord and His Word to grow and product fruit in the right way and in the right time. The disciples were sent out to "feed the nations" with God's Word when they were "ripe" (after being filled with the Holy Spirit). The Lord is looking for "ripe fruit" in us. He is growing us up and will send us out when we are ripe and ready to feed the nations.
Joan E. Mathias