I went on my daily walk today and decided to invite Jesus to tag along.
I’ve had a few recent observations I wanted to share with him. Specifically, some world and cultural events that have been occurring, and I’m not so sure he’s aware of just how dire things are beginning to look.
I said to him, (I mainly talked and Jesus mainly listened)
Lord, we have become incredibly angry in our humanity. Anger spews in our small towns and cities. It bubbles beneath the surface in our homes and churches, and there is so much “holier than thou” anger on the Internet. We are angry and hateful and bored – the boredom strongly evidenced through the excessive amount of time we seem to have while investing in our anger and hatred. Refugees, abortion, celebrities, cancer, vaccinations, marriage definitions, Trump, Hillary, and what causes cancer to name a few. We have ranty, angry opinions for all of it.
One person voices one particular opinion and another voices something different, and we hurl rock upon rock from our self-righteous perches behind glaring, brightly lit screens; the hefty, tyrannical boulders falling heavy upon seemingly invisible and invincible souls. We throw until our shoulders ache and our hearts are muddied and black, and we can’t find joy in anything anymore because we’re so covered in filth.
We hurl until Stephen is finally dead beneath the weight of our words.
Words which leave in their wake little crevices of emptiness in the human spirit, and we thrive on the power we have over a person through our anger. These holes we create in people’s souls (yes, there are people behind those screens) – overflow with insecurities and pain and angst, and we find ourselves back in Eden beneath the tree of despair. Back in Eden caught once again red handed holding the forbidden and asking ourselves - Why, Oh, Why must we always return to Eden?
Jesus what do we do with all this? How do we fix it Lord? How do we fill the gaping, oozing holes that everyone has created in one another? How do we fix such an expansive brokenness?
Jesus didn’t have much to say so I slowly trudged up the last hill and veered into my husband’s garden to see if I could possibly scrounge up one or two remaining tomatoes – the delicious fruit of his labor I’ve been indulging in all summer.
The plants hung limp. Their life long gone and instead replaced with brittle branches. A few held remnants of rotten fruit, fruit which didn’t ripen in time or fruit mauled by creatures great and small (but mostly small), and it occurred to me that the answer to most of my questions is a simple, time honored truth –
We are to bear fruit.
We who walk in His footsteps and beseech His name, and bear His image, our job is to bear fruit - fruit that will be life nourishing to many in our fallen world and sometimes even life-saving for a few. Not all of us will have the best or the flashiest or the prettiest fruit to bear at the particular stage we’re at in life, but it is still our duty to give what we have - however it looks in this moment.
Wherever we are in the ripening process of our “becoming more like Him” journeys, we should offer sacrificially whatever fruit we possess to our world and to His people. He commands this of us. Offer our kindness, our patience, our steadfastness, and our faithfulness. Being good, loving, and joyful, and displaying gentleness and self – control whenever possible. Hitting the delete button when the perfect, angry barrage of words easily fires off the keyboard in response to something we don’t agree with. That’s fruit. Or displaying joy in the midst of sleep deprivation and patiently explaining to two, young kindergarteners how to do their homework – yet again. More fruit. Not fantastically impressive fruit by worldly standards but still fruit rendered in obedience to Him.
Give what fruit you have to give in this day, this hour and this moment. It’s the only moment we’re guaranteed anyway. Give your fruit, all of it, your mangled, less than perfect, not super impressive, yet full of grace, mercy, and goodness fruit that He redeemed for you at Calvary. Give it away lest it rot while you hold it firmly within your grasp.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galations 5:22-23
Just Keep Livin!