I have never been a huge fan of monkeys, mostly due to their flagrantly rebellious “grunge” look, but they do win points in my book for eating bananas. Of course, they also eat grubs and lice, but I’ll just look the other way on that one for now. Bananas are my favorite fruit, and I can sleep soundly at night knowing that monkeys and other members of the primate order approve of my choice. Other fruits are only kidding themselves, if you ask me.
The first time I ever took our children apple picking, I thought it would be a simple process until I was handed a list of twenty different choices. Apparently you need a college degree in apple-ology to determine which kind of apple is just right for eating, baking, and making applesauce. Different weeks feature different types, so you may show up for a McIntosh and be surprised by a Red Delicious laughing at you and sneering, “Mac moved out last week, so I guess you’re stuck with me, kid.” At which point you want to snap, “Your name is a misnomer; you really taste like wax,” but you’re still suffering nightmares from The Wizard of Oz scene where the apple trees slap Dorothy. At least when you want a banana, you can go to the store, pick a bunch, and go. No erudite snobbery of requiring knowledge of the right brands for the right season. I do not believe that the fruit Eve picked from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was a banana. Only an apple would advertise itself as a dispenser of wisdom.
I love the taste of pineapple, but any fruit that wears a suit of armor that requires a blowtorch to open is just plain rude. Although sunny in appearance, the pineapple is a particularly inhospitable fruit. I’m not sure whatever happened to this fruit, but there are walls there. Oranges are fragrant and tasty, but the effort required to peel them is also annoying. Bananas, on the other hand, can be opened with ease. Even small children can open bananas faster than they tear through a pile of presents on Christmas morning.
Watermelon is another delicious fruit, but the seeds are pesky and the juice attracts ants. Bananas may attract monkeys, but I have yet to be sitting in my home eating a banana, only to be attacked by a band of wild monkeys. The banana can also be eaten neatly, without staining clothes or furniture. A mother’s best friend.
The one tricky thing about the banana is the peel. Every morning my kids choose their bananas based on the outward appearance of the peels. Black peels are an obvious sign that the banana is now a pile of mush ready to unzip itself and jump right into the smoothie machine. Other bananas are more subtle. Whenever the kids pick a perfect- looking banana, they inevitably find more bruises on the inside than a professional rugby player. The rejected, spotted peels often open to reveal a flawless banana.
Since I tend to have unusual thoughts (hence, my repartee with the apples), the daily banana peel situation often reminds me of the prophet Samuel’s selection of King David.
God told Samuel to go to Bethlehem to anoint the new king. When Jesse arrived with his sons, Samuel saw Eliab and thought that surely this must be the new ruler.
1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Even though Eliab had an unblemished banana peel, God had rejected him. David was shorter and ruddy, although he had handsome features. A few spots on the peel, perhaps. But once you unzipped his exterior, his heart was the perfect banana, modeled after his heavenly Father.
Acts 13:22 He [God] testified concerning him: “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart…”
God does not care for perfect, phony appearances. Even when he sees our internal bruises, he heals them when we humble ourselves and earnestly desire to change. God is truly concerned about the appearance of hearts, and we should be, too. When I look at other people, I hope to remember the valuable lesson from my children: You can’t judge a banana by its peel.