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CONTROL  6'2m?f Fruit of the spirit - self-control

DAD -- (enters, wearing bib overalls, carrying hoe, begins 
hoing imaginary garden, humming a familiar praise song)

SON -- (enters) Hi, Dad.

DAD -- (turns) Well, hello, there, Son! (hugs) I didn't expect 
you for another couple of weeks. Where is everybody?

SON -- You mean Jeanie and the kids?

DAD -- Yeah. 

SON -- They didn't come. I... I just came to talk to you. You 
know, to get some advice.

DAD -- What did you want advice about? Shall I get my check 
book? (points, starting toward exit)

SON -- Oh, no, nothing like that. I... Well, it's kind of hard 
to talk about again.

DAD -- That old bad habit creeping into your life again, Son?

SON -- Yeah, yeah, it is. And it really bothers me that I have 
so little self-control. 

DAD -- Well, like I told you last time, self-control is one of 
the fruits of the spirit.

SON -- This isn't going to turn into another sermon again, is 
it, Dad?

DAD -- (shrugs) I guess not. (resumes hoing) It's obvious the 
sermon approach didn't sink in last time.

SON -- (walks around Dad to make eye contact) It isn't like I 
don't want your advice, Dad. I mean, I came all the way out here 
and everything. It's just that quoting all those Bible 
verses,... 

DAD -- Alright, then, let me put it another way. Your problem 
with self-control is that you're a lousy gardener.

SON -- Actually, Dad, as you well know, I'm not a gardener at 
all.

DAD -- Well, then maybe you ought to take lessons from a 
gardener.

SON -- (sigh) Alright. I'm listening.

DAD -- Did you ever eat an apple from an abandoned apple tree?

SON -- Well, yeah, when I was growing up, we used to sneak into 
Mrs Benson's orchard. She let it grow wild for years.

DAD -- And how were the apples?

SON -- Stolen apples always taste better.

DAD -- How were they really?

SON -- Alright, to tell the truth, they were small, very small 
and a bit fibrous and a bit sour.

DAD -- That's the problem with your self-control.

SON -- (smiles) I'm sorry, I don't follow....

DAD -- The problem with people these days is they treat the 
fruit of the spirit as if they were the GIFTS of the spirit. 
The fact of the matter is they're FRUIT. Fruit needs a gardener 
and a lot of work. You can't let it grow wild.

SON -- I thought when the Holy Spirit worked, you just need 
faith.

DAD -- Like I said, you're confusing the GIFTS of the spirit 
with the FRUITS of the spirit. Things like salvation, grace and 
mercy. Those are all gifts. But, things like peace, patience, 
kindness, gentleness and self-control, they're FRUIT and they 
need a gardener.

SON -- I'm sorry, I must be a little dense, I still don't...

DAD -- You remember that apple tree over there? (points)

SON -- How could I forget that tree, Dad? You planted it the day 
I was born and you mention it every birthday.

DAD -- I planted that apple tree from a seed... an ordinary 
apple seed.

SON -- Yeah?

DAD -- At first, I sprouted it in a pot with rich potting soil, 
indoors where it could be protected from the elements. Then, 
when it was hearty enough to withstand the elements, I carefully 
prepared the soil and transplanted it. I watered it, I weeded 
around it, I fertilized it and I sprayed it for pests. And, when 
it started to produce apples, I pruned it so it would produce 
MORE apples and BIGGER apples.

SON -- And this all applies to me... how?

DAD -- Self-control... ANY fruit of the Spirit requires the same 
diligence as growing that apple tree.

SON -- It does?

DAD -- Yes, it does. It starts with the seeds. 

SON -- The seeds.

DAD -- Yes. This is a no-brainer. A man who wants apples 
wouldn't plant plums. Would he?

SON -- No. Of course not.

DAD -- A man who has trouble with drinking should not have his 
business meetings in a bar. A man who has trouble with 
pornography should never go near a newsstand that sells it.

SON -- Makes sense.

DAD -- But more important than the seeds you DON'T plant, are 
the seeds you DO plant.

SON -- And what seeds are those?

DAD -- You need to seed your mind with people who ARE 
self-controlled.

SON -- People like you?

DAD -- I'm not talking about people who are two hours away from 
home. I'm talking about people within your everyday life.

SON -- I suppose you're going to nag me about joining a small 
group again.

DAD -- AND reading the Bible. People like Paul the apostle and 
Peter, James, and John. All became self-controlled during their 
life-times. You plant better seeds, you get better apples. 

SON -- (sigh) Alright, you've convinced me. I'll join a small 
group and I'll read my Bible every day.

DAD -- That's just the beginning, now you have to start pruning.

SON -- Pruning.

DAD -- Those relationships that keep you from producing fruit.

SON -- (sigh) I knew you'd bring them up again. But but those 
guys are fun to be with!

DAD -- Hey, it's your apple tree. You know you'll produce a 
bigger crop if you prune your counter-productive friends.

SON -- (sigh) I've known for a long time that those guys were 
not good for me. I guess I just needed you to say it again. I 
had to drive two hours to hear things I already knew. (turns) 
Thanks, Dad.

DAD -- Hey, wait a minute. You missed the best part.

SON -- (turns back) What do you mean?

DAD -- Are you aware that all my work on that apple tree did not 
produce a single apple?

SON -- I still don't know what you mean.

DAD -- Think about it. I planted it, watered it, fertilized it, 
weeded it, sprayed it, and I pruned it. But none of that had 
anything to do with photosynthesis.

SON -- You mean sunlight?

DAD -- Yes. In the end any gardener will tell you that all the 
work he does is based on a confidence in the Lord to do his 
work. Gardening and the Christian walk are a partnership with 
the Lord.

SON -- I never thought about it like that.

DAD -- If you have trouble with your peace, patience, kindness 
OR SELF-CONTROL, it's probably because you lost confidence in 
your partner. I don't think I have to tell a tennis player like 
you what it takes to increase your confidence in your partner.

SON -- It always gets back to spending more time with my 
partner, (points up) doesn't it?

DAD -- Maybe you ought take up gardening as a reminder.

SON -- (hugs) Thanks, Dad. (exits backward waving) Thanks for 
being a great gardener.

DAD -- (waves) My love to Jeanie and the kids. (wipes mouth, to 
self, exiting) All that talk about apples got me hungry for one. 
Those apples sure look good.

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