Post by Lee Stephenson on March 8th, 2010
Have you ever heard of John Chapman? My guess you probably have but you just didn’t know it. What if I told you he walked barefoot around the United States wearing a pot on his head? Now it all begins to come together…John Chapman is better known as Johnny Appleseed. Johnny Appleseed was a pioneer of the early 1800′s and is best known for his generous ways and leadership in conservation. Moreover, he is the man that introduced apple trees to most of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Johnny Appleseed is a classic American legend that left a huge legacy.
Have you ever wondered how the United States would be different if Johnny Appleseed didn’t like to eat apples? One of the most intriguing things to me is that Johnny Appleseed planted thousands of apple trees knowing that he would never get to enjoy the fruits of his trees. He worked tirelessly so that others may enjoy the fruits of his hard labor! What an inspiration.
At the beginning of Proverbs 7, we find some very inspirational words if they are taken seriously. At the beginning of chapter we find a father’s instructions to a son. Instructions that if kept…will bring life!
My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 7:1-3)
This appeal begins with the plea of a father for his son to take the father’s wise instruction to heart in order to keep himself from the of dangers found in the temptations of adultery. Temptation is a powerful thing. It can cause us to stop doing what we are doing and begin to ponder another “way.” Many times that other “way” can be dangerous and down right stupid.
One of the things that I think allowed Johnny Appleseed to be so successful is that he learned to keep his focus. I am sure there were moments as he walked that people made fun of him, times of loneliness (he never got married), and times he felt like quitting. However, he never gave into any of those temptations. He truly learned to keep the apple the “apple of his eye.” I assume if he had given into other temptations, his legacy would have been much different.
In this passage, the Father instructs his son to keep his teachings or instructions as the apple of his eye. What an interesting phrase to use. Later on in history we find that Shakespeare uses the same phrase in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Here is was meant as the center of your eye. However, the original meaning traced all the way back to Proverbs 7, literally means to hold dear or to cherish. In other words, the Father is saying that if you hold dear to my teachings, if you cherish my words, then you will find life! Very powerful words for a father to say, aren’t they?
This passage got me thinking…do I fully cherish and hold dear the instructions of my heavenly Father? Do you truly hold dear the words or teachings of the Bible as the source of life? Proverbs 7, brings with it a great challenge to the way that we live. If we learn to hide God’s Word in our hearts, to cherish each word, hunger for each word…then we will find life.
Furthermore, it is interesting that the Father never assumes that the temptation will never come. Temptation is part of living in a fallen world. However, if we learn to cherish the Father’s Words, then we have the truth that will help us say no to the “other way.” What kind of legacy do you want to leave? How do you want people to remember you?
You have a choice. You can do things the way that the Father instructs us to live…which in the end I am convinced leads to a great legacy demonstrating the goodness and love of God. A legacy that leaves an everlasting effect on our kids, families, friends, etc. However, how different that legacy would be if we prostituted ourselves to the temptations of this world?