The other day, we visited the Dole pineapple plantation along Kamehameha Highway, Wahiawa,Hawaii. I remember being shown once how integrated the operations are in such a place. Nothing of the fruit is ever wasted. The crowns are set aside to serve as the stock from which to grow the new crop. Some of the harvested fruits are sold fresh and the rest are preserved and canned. The flesh of the fruit is processed and packed as slices, cubes, tidbits, crushed, juice, or mixed with other fruits as a cocktail. The residual pulp and the skin of the fruit is then crush and fed to livestock. The plant itself is left in the fields, cut up and left to compost and serve as mulch to fertilize the soil.
And so it is with nature. Nothing is ever wasted. The leaves fall and return to the ground to enrich it. Flowers attract insects with their colors and nectar and in the process get pollinated. Fruits serve as food for birds and animals, who in turn spread out their seeds. Everything and everyone lives in a symbiotic interdependence. The tiny microbes that live on the forest floor making it rich in nutrients are as vital as the giants trees that makes up the forest canopy.
And so it is in life. Nothing is ever wasted and everyone has a role to play, a mission to accomplish, a quest to embark on. Everyone has his gifts and his own calling. St. Paul tells us that some are called “as Apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ.” Others are called just to stand by the door and welcome people in or to serve and wait upon the poor and the needy or to sit quietly in prayers for others. In the end, we are all meant to bear our own fruit, with each tree giving its unique fruit.
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
~ Psalm 122
Jesus told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
but have found none. So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave it for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.’”