After a week or two his apple starts looking all withered and bruised and we know we need to get it away from him. He’s usually clutching it in his sleep, but every once and a while it will slip from his grasp and we can do the switch then. Other times Daddy will get a fresh, crisp, cold apple from the fridge and bring it to Robbie hidden in the palm of his hand. He holds his hand out and says, “Daddy has a surprise for you, Robbie!” Robbie turns his hand over, and there is that lovely new apple! His eyes light up and he starts to take it with a huge grin—but Daddy wants to trade him for the old one. Oh, the dilemma! He wants the new one, but he’s not quite willing to give up the old one. Finally he gives in, unable to resist that shiny new apple!
What is it about an apple that attracts him? Is it the color, or the nice solid feel of it in his hand? Is it the smooth, cool texture or perhaps the scent when he puts it up to his nose? We’ll probably never know why Robbie loves apples so much until we get to heaven and he can tell us all about it. In the meantime, I guess we’d better keep the fridge well-stocked with apples!
I heard an old saying this week that made me think of Robbie and his apples. You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed. There is great truth in that statement on so many levels. The first thing I think of is in the literal sense. My grandparents had eight -- like seeds in an apple, count ‘em -- children. From those eight children have come nearly one hundred and twenty descendants—so far! The Generation-3’s are still just getting started in producing little G-4’s, and in less than ten years, probably, the G-4’s will start having little apples of their own. The earliest ancestor we have on record in our family is a John Robey who was born in 1455 in Castle Donington, England. That was 554 years ago. Can you imagine the thousands of apples who have fallen from his tree since then?
The second truth I see in this thought is similar, but in the spiritual sense. There is something called the principle of “divine multiplication.” I may not have a great audience in my life, like Billy Graham or D.L. Moody or Luis Palau, but who knows the impact of my witness when the Lord multiplies it in the lives of the few with whom I have contact? Will the little boy I teach in Sunday School become a preacher someday and lead many to the Lord? Will that teenager I lead in the youth group go on to share her testimony for the Lord because I was willing to share my faith with her? We are encouraged not to be weary in well-doing. God gives the increase when we are faithful in our witness. We may not know all the fruit of our labors until we get to heaven, but we can be sure that God will multiply. Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”
This principle is even more precious when we see it happening in our own families. It is true that God has no grandchildren or great-grandchildren. Each person must become a child of God by accepting His salvation through Jesus Christ on his own. Coming from a “Christian” home does not make one a Christian; having Christian parents does not insure one a place in the family of God. It is our responsibility as Christian parents, however, to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. When we see them come to trust Christ as their own personal Savior it is one of the most momentous and exciting events in our experience as parents. What a joy, then, to see our children grow up to lead their children to the Lord, and then those children grow up to teach their children, and thus our faith in the Lord is multiplied down through the generations! God has no spiritual grandchildren, but it is a wonderful thing when we leave a spiritual legacy of faith for our descendants to accept and follow for themselves.
I see another principle of divine multiplication in our little apple seeds. I have always said we influence every other life we touch—whether for good or for bad. Just as our faith may lead others to Christ, our godly example may encourage them to go on and live righteous, pleasing lives for Him. On the flip side, when we are not living for the Lord, we may become a stumbling block to others, causing them to fall. People are watching us. Our children are watching us. If we want our influence to bear fruit we must live closely to the Lord—abide in Him. John 15: 4, 5 says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” I don’t know about you, but I would never want to be a bad influence on somebody and make them stumble. May we always abide in Him so that our influence will multiply and bear fruit for the Lord.
When we count the seeds in an apple, we cannot know how many apples will be multiplied from just one of those seeds. Only God knows that number. Only God knows the fruit our testimony and godly example will bear, but someday in heaven, He may share it with us! The next time you bite into a crisp, juicy apple I hope you’ll think of our sweet Robbie Appleseed and say a little prayer for him. Remember, too: You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed. Let’s bear fruit for Him—over and over again.