Two brothers were walking on their father’s extensive, wooded acreage when they came upon a young tree heavy with fruit. Both enjoyed as much of the delicious fruit as they wanted. When they started back, one man gathered all the remaining fruit and took it home with him. His brother, however, took the tree itself and planted it on his own property. The tree flourished and regularly produced a bountiful crop so that the second brother often had fruit when the first had none.
The Bible is like the fruit-bearing tree in this story. Merely hearing the Word of God is to be like the first brother. You may gather much fruit from the encounter and even bring home enough to feed on for a few days, but in the long run it doesn’t compare with having your own tree. Through the Disciplines of reading and studying, we make the tree our own and enjoy its fruit. Among the Spiritual Disciplines we also find the tools of memorization, meditation, and application, which bountifully increase our harvest of fruit from the tree.
Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1991), 29–31.
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