“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”2 Corinthians 5:17
My husband, Keith, and I recently visited a cork factory in Portugal. I was struck by the life of a cork tree. A cork tree’s story of peeling away the old towards purity resembles the Christian walk.
“Corky, you see my trunk?”
“Yes, Papa. It’s nice and smooth.”
“When I turned 25, I decided to give what I had to others. You can see where the harvesters cut my outer bark away with a special machete.”
“That must have hurt.”
“Yes, the cut and peeling hurt, but it was worth it. They boiled it, flattened it, and used my old, gnarly bark for cork boards. They even ground some of it up for children’s playgrounds.”
“I see your bark is smoother than the pictures of your old self. It’s also prettier.”
“Yes, my son. Every 9 years, they come and peel away my bark. Each time my old bark is peeled away, it’s purer and bright orange. They’re using it to make beautiful and useful things now.”
“Do you suppose God is proud of you, Papa?”
“Yes, my son. He’s blessing me and others I don’t even know by making me purer with each peel. He’s using the bark to bless His children. Your bark is like a fruit that is growing. With each harvest, it will be sweeter and purer.”
“When can I start giving my bark, Papa?”
“Soon, my son, soon.”
A Christian’s Fruit
When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our old life passes away, and we’ve become a new creation. As we grow in the knowledge of God and surrender to Jesus, the Holy Spirit strips away our worldly ways, like the peeled bark of the cork tree.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”Gal 5:22-23
We begin to develop fruit that is sweeter and tastier with each work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Father, thank You for the cork tree’s story. May it become our story of purification and fruit-bearing. Make our fruit sweet to the taste and nurturing to others. Glorify Your name through the offering of ourselves. Amen.