For two-and-a-half years I traveled as art of the Mobile Evangelistic Team called the New Jerusalem Players . "We criss-crossed the country numerous times as we shared our Gospel presentations. Sometimes as we traveled in the van with the big "Jews for Jesus" markings, I would smile at the other motorists to shine a little bit of the joy of the Lord. Other times we were on country roads, where we could pray or read the Bible to one another. There wasn’t a whole lot for us to talk about because each member of the team was part of the "current events" of the other members. Sometimes on those country roads I would play a game that I made up, which is called "GUESS WHAT’S PLANTED IN THAT FIELD?"
There were dozens of varieties of corn − you could tell them by their broad leaves. Are those strawberries or cabbages? Can’t tell yet, they’re too close to the ground.
"That looks like fruit growing over there in that orchard!" Somebody responded, "Of course it is, everybody knows fruit grows on trees in orchards. So, what kind of fruit is it?"
I answered, "Not everyone can tell." I knew that before I left New York I couldn’t tell for sure that all fruit grew on trees. "Don’t be so smart," I continued. "Not all fruit grows on trees. What about grapes?"
"They grow on vines, those little twisted trees."
I was silent for a moment. Then the right answer came to me. "Well, what about strawberries? They don’t grow on trees. They’re fruit. You never saw a strawberry tree." Then miles of silence. Later on I learned to tell the difference between orange trees, and peach trees, and probably ten varieties of apples. I saw many things grow during that time − especially ME.
Surprisingly enough, I developed a fascination for what was growing in the fields. Farming is not a part of my heritage. We Jews are city people, for at least the past few thousand years. Perhaps my fascination with the fields came from reading the Bible, and seeing all the metaphors and similes related to agriculture. Then I heard a slogan, or maybe it was a bumper sticker. It said, "GROW WHERE YOU’RE PLANTED." I didn’t like that saying at first, because I always thought it was for people who didn’t want to go anyplace. But then I started thinking … where am I planted? In those days it was the seat of a van, or a street corner where I was blossoming forth Gospel broadsides, or the platform of a church or campus where we gave our dramatic presentations. I was no longer planted in New York , and the small apartment we had at our home base in San Francisco didn’t seem any more like home than any other place.
Then I realized that I was planted in Christ, grafted in the Branch. And so, I could apply that motto to myself. For me to grow where I was planted, or perhaps I should say, transplanted, was to grow in Christ. I was not only planted in Christ, but in the body of Christ. Not only in the Body of Christ but in a small band of evangelists who were doing a big job.
I look in other fields and I see other blossoms and fruit. There’s a bumper crop of the fruits of the flesh. The idolatry crop is not coming in quite as strongly as it did a few years ago, but hatred, strife, heresy, and lasciviousness are all flourishing. As for me, I don’t have to guess what kind of fruit I’ll bear. If you’re planted where I’m planted, together as we sink our roots deeper, and abide in Him, we shall have the fruits of the Spirit blossoming forth from our lives. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law." (Gal. 5:22, 23)