The June Drop

“. . . let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that
so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out  for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. . . .”

-HEBREWS 12:1-2 (NIV – 1984)

I GREW UP IN RURAL COMMUNITIES AS A CHILD and have lived nearly all of my adult life in the country—many of those years were also spent farming.  In all that time I had never heard of “the June Drop.”  This past week I learned of this phenomenon from Cheryl Greene, via the Internet.  Cheryl, in her Facebook post at the Greene Beanery Coffee Roastery, shared some thoughts certainly worth passing along as filtered through my own heart and mind.
My friend Cheryl noted the number pears that had dropped from her tree and her husband Matthew said they were a part of “the June Drop.”   This was news to her, and also for me. 
Others more knowledgeable than I know that each year, about this time, fruit trees have blossomed and begun to show their promise of fruit.  What looks like a bumper crop begins to drop fruit, causing those ignorant of this phenomenon to wonder what is going on.  I began noticing this last year for the first time as our black walnut trees dropped some rather small and undeveloped walnuts in June and again this year.  Thanks to Cheryl I now know what is going on.
What neither of us previously knew is that the tree, in essence, is pruning itself by dropping all of the fruit that is stunted or unpollinated, preserving the valuable nutrition that comes from the soil and tree for the growth of the fruit that will provide the greatest quality at its appointed time.  This also relieves the tree of enormous weight that could break it down when the fruit is fully matured and the branches heavily laden.
There are a number of valuable lessons we can learn from “the June Drop.”  Jesus spoke clearly about what happens to trees that do not bear good fruit, but Cheryl captured perhaps the best analogy from the writer of Hebrews.
“It got me to thinking,” Cheryl said, “of the things in our lives that are there that do not add value, but instead actually keep us from producing a quality life for God as we should. The verse in Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “lay aside every weight and sin that hinders us from running the race set before us.” What are things in your life that weigh you down and keep you from being a more productive being for Jesus? We all have things we can think of that we could drop in our daily routine in order for the things that God has pollinated in us to flourish and grow.”
That is an excellent question and observation.  We live in a land of unprecedented abundance and many of us are carrying far too heavy a load of passions and pursuits through life.  We are staggering beneath the weight of them and those unnecessary things are sucking the life out of what is most important.  Many are in danger of losing their soul.
Jesus described it this way in His parable of the soils:  “The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced (Matthew 13:22 – NLT).
He also warns us sternly about what is REALLY at stake:  “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? (Mark 8:34-36 – ESV).
If you’re like me, you feel the weight of this world.  Many of us long for simpler and less cluttered times.  While the culture is running at a pace we cannot control and toward a destination we would not wish, the things of this world that distract me and weigh me down are things I have willing picked up.  It’s time to unload the backpack of unnecessary weight.  I have a race to finish . . . and so do you.  Let’s finish it together far lighter, bearing the vibrant and bountiful fruit of the Spirit to the glory of God and for the joy of our salvation.