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A few years back our family was studying the Tree of Life story from 1 Nephi 8. As part of our study we watched a video representation of the story. We got to the part of the video where the people who have pressed forward to make it to the tree of life finally get a chance to partake of the fruit. My 8-year-old son suddenly asked, “If the fruit is so good, why do they only take one bite? Why don’t they eat the whole thing?”
I hadn’t been paying attention to that particular detail, but he was right. In the video it shows that the people are excited to get to the tree, they take a bite of the fruit and then just stand there with the rest of the fruit still sitting there in their hands. Although it was a brief scene that I initially overlooked, my son’s observation was astute.
Usually if you’ve eaten something that’s delicious the first thing you want to do is take another bite, and another, and another! If it’s so good, why is it not smeared all over their faces and dripping from their hands? You should be able to tell from looking at someone that they had been eating the fruit. Their hands should be so sticky that no one can touch them without getting some of the juice on them as well. You should be able to smell it on them from several feet away. You should get a contact high from the fruit just by being in their vicinity.
If the fruit of the tree of life represents the Love of God, then how would this apply to me? Am I ever guilty of just taking a single bite of that love and then leaving the rest behind? Many of us can remember the moment when we found the gospel or gained a testimony that it was true. But as Alma asks us in Alma 5:26 – “can ye feel so now?” It doesn’t do us any good to find the gospel and feel that love one time. We should take that love and apply it to every aspect of our lives until people can tell just by looking at us that we’ve felt that love.
But how do we keep partaking of the fruit? Won’t we get bored just eating the same thing over and over again? I think apples are delicious, but if I sit around just eating apples I’ll get tired of them pretty quickly. Fortunately, I don’t think that this fruit is only good one way. I’m sure it tastes great as jam or pie or in a fruit salad. If my experiences with the Love of God are any representation, it has so many different flavors that you can make it part of ANY dish – pasta, soup, ice cream, steak. Don’t think that God has any limits! I have felt His love at births, and funerals – it can be felt both in times that are joyous and those that are filled with sorrow. His love is present at the grandest of occasions and the most mundane. His love can give a better flavor to anything that you’re going through.
Maybe we just take one bite because we want to leave more for others. However, there’s no shortage or limit to the fruit – the Love of God is infinite. Limiting our consumption does not leave more for someone else, there is plenty for everyone. In fact, as we eat more of it the supply only grows and becomes more available and easier to find for others. We also learn how to prepare it better and can share those recipes with others so that they can enjoy the fruit more fully. We are all strengthened when another person is able to apply the Love of God in their life.
Have you ever listened to a talk or lesson as someone has shared how they felt God’s love in their life – either through an act of service, or a prayer, or a scripture, or any number of other ways – and then recognized that you’ve felt God’s love in that way as well, even if you hadn’t recognized it at the time? Or taken their “recipe” and tried someone else’s way of living the gospel which gave you access to God’s love in a completely different way than you’d had before? The more experience we have with the love of God, the more we can share that love with others.
I posted a few years back about a time when I was able to bless a few people in a small way through a prompting I received at stake conference. I had listened as one of the speakers had shared the way she had felt impressed to serve. When I went out and served in a similar way I was able to see how the Lord was able to bless several people through that service. I was so grateful for access to someone else’s “recipe” for sharing and feeling God’s love.
Maybe we’re really familiar with eating one part of the fruit, but there are other parts that we don’t want to eat. Do I take parts of the gospel and enjoy their sweetness while neglecting other parts – denying myself the blessings and sweetness they could also add to my life? The seeds, the skin, the flesh, the stem – all of it is delicious and can be used in so many different ways. It is THE superfood – the more of it you eat the better it is for you. It’s all there, it’s mine for the taking, why would I not eat as much of it as I can? Whether it is family history, temple attendance, scripture study, personal prayer, church meetings, ministering assignments – I’m sure there is an aspect of the gospel that we can each work on adding into our lives more fully that would give us greater experience with the love of God.
So my challenge to you is – DIG IN! Take more than one bite. Let’s all feast on the fruit of the Tree of Life and bring the Love of God more fully into our lives. Let us not merely nibble at the edges of divine love; instead, may we devour it, savoring its fullness. In doing so, we can become beacons of that love in a world that hungers for its taste.