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Good Morning.

When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised. Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you. It shall not be eaten. But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, a praise to the Lord. And in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, that it may yield to you its increase. (Leviticus 19:23-25)

There are commands, such as this one, that were given specifically in relation to the people of Israel being in the land of Israel. (Another example of this is the command to let the land rest every seventh year known in Hebrew as the Sh’mittah year.) So, in the land of Israel, fruits from the first three growing years were considered unqualified for human consumption. In the fourth year, the fruits were considered holy and were to be consumed in Jerusalem in the Temple compound. However, in the fifth year, the fruit could be used for food and, for those who obeyed this instruction, there was a promise of bountiful fruit in the ensuing years.

As noted, this was a command that applied to those living in the land of Israel, however, it is my strong opinion that these same principles can work outside the land of Israel. That is why my family and I have followed the guidelines found in the instruction above and have been blessed by the results. But more importantly, this principle, like most others, has spiritual implications. Specifically, in order that God’s purpose for what He has created might mature into its fullness, time — a growing season, if you will — has to be part of the process. So now, let us consider that the Scripture often likens people to trees.

The point is that, like fruit trees, we who have been born again are expected to produce fruit and a lot of it. That means, then, that there must be an initial growing season before we should expect that fruit to be “food.” In other words, we shouldn’t expect that a brand new believer should start teaching or leading a congregation right away. On the contrary, we need to allow for discipleship and growth before we allow such a person to be placed in any type of leadership role and that requires time. Yes, there will be signs of fruit early in their journey but, according to the principle, we need to give it time to see if the fruit continues to mature. In turn, this idea is connected to something Paul said, and it is with this very important statement that I will close today: “Know those who labor among you.”

Blessings and Shalom,  




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