We walked past his orderly flower and vegetable rows, past the house, and through a gate. The plum tree's loaded branches were sagging and, when the wind kicked up, seemed to shift like an overdue pregnant woman. Some plum crop. We repositioned a ladder, secured sacks, and then left him there to pluck as I went "around to the hothouse to get some onions". I left the Fowler place several kind, peaceful moments later with heavy sacks of fruit and cured onions.
I smiled as my tires hit highway pavement. God's been going out of His wonderful way lately to demonstrate to me that blessings beget blessings. That kindness sowed is kindness reaped. That generosity here perpetuates generosity there. That thoughtfulness - no matter how small, insignificant, or simple - is like God's Word: it never returns void.
This is a relatively new concept for me to put into practice. Sure, I've heard Jesus' Parable of the Sower umpteen times. But that's just it: I've heard it, then I've left it behind. I find it heartbreaking that many of us who believe in God... who have placed our hope and our hearts in the enduring promise of His Word and His sacrifice... don't follow our faith with fruit. We breeze through the list in Galatians 5 of the characteristics that should be self-evident in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, then we sniff, "Today's not a good day". Or "who can expect to have peace in a time like this?". Or, (my favorite), "I am NOT a patient/gentle/disciplined, etc. person." Well, no kidding. Few of us are. That's why these characteristics are called the Fruits of the Spirit. You ain't born with them. You develop and practice them as a result of spending time in prayer and reading your Bible. You become increasingly loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled as you seek God and His Spirit works within you. This is not an overnight, extreme makeover. This is a daily running-after the things of God. An hourly effort to be more like Him. A moment-by-moment commitment to share some fruit. Some spiritual fruit.
I wish it were easy for me. It's not. I wish I wasn't born with a wicked, sinful nature. I was. But last week as I was leaving a tiny can of flowers behind - only to be kindly showered with bags of plums - I realized: sowing righteousness does reap fruits of unfailing love. A man does sow what he reaps. What an awesome opportunity we have to bless others and stand under a shower of blessings ourselves! What a time we have now - today - to seek the Lord and reap the fruit of unfailing love.
So I'm joining the Fowlers. I'm in. I'm joining in with the Fowlers and the Thompsons and the Wilsons and the Averys and all the other Christians around the world as they, in their own ways, share God's love... His joy... His faithfulness. You could come too, you know. Together we could make it a great fruit pursuit....
Monday Moment is a little devotional to help kick-start your week. See you again next week!