Driving through the countryside these past few weeks has got me thinking of the Garden of Eden. Here I could begin to wax poetic for my new home. I could paint a picture of the lingering of the fall with its exquisite scents and the vibrant autumn colours I haven’t seen in 25 years. But that’s not what has got me thinking of our great-ancestors’ paradise. It is the apples.
You see, my new home is in the heart of apple country. Every time I go for a drive I go past one orchard after another. Tens of thousands of trees, each covered in hundreds and hundreds of apples, all in neat rows right up to the edge of the road. Apples of a dozen or more varieties. Apples for every taste and preference. Apples that have proven to be a strange and peculiar temptation to me.
I noticed it almost from the moment the sweet red fruit began weighing down the branches in one orchard after another. I would be driving along, and all of a sudden this little voice would pop into my head and say “Boy those apples sure look good. You should stop and pick one. Nothing’s better than an apple right off the tree! And they’re good for you … an apple a day and all that … What? You can’t! Why not? Look around … no one is going to miss a hundred apples much less ONE! The farmers even expect it, or they wouldn’t have put them all so close to the road for such easy picking. Go ahead, you know you want to!”
And the scary thing is that the voice is right. My mouth starts watering, my foot hesitates on the gas pedal and all of a sudden a second voice pops up and says “What are you crazy? You’ve got apples in the fridge! There’s an apple stand just two minutes down the road! There’s a U-Pick place on the way home, if you just can’t keep your hands off! Why are you even thinking like this?”
Indeed … why? I’m not normally a thief. And apples are nice, but I’m not crazy for them or anything. Why the temptation every time I drive past row upon row of them by the road. I guess the old temptations are still the best. I guess it is part of my sinner’s heritage to always want more, even in the face of such abundance and blessings. Forbidden fruit still promises to be the sweetest.
Luckily I know better. I know the cost of that first forbidden taste for Adam and Eve. I know the cost to Jesus, who had to come and hang from another tree, to pay for the temptations of the first. I know the sweet taste of forgivness in Christ and sins paid for by Him who is the firstfruits of all who will rise from the dead. But even knowing this, the temptation to reach out and take one of those apples is killing me. Maybe today, before I go out in the country again I will stop and buy a couple to tide me over till I get through the orchards again. No point in keeping the doctor away, if I’m only inviting the police over!