About two days into our chaotic week I had an epiphany. Its called 'fruit' of the spirit for a reason. It takes a long time to grow.
You don't plant a seed and have a nice juicy apple the next day. You plant a seed and then you water it and water it and wait and water it some more. Days and days pass without any fruit action. Actually, it looks like nothing is happening for a very long time then one day, out of the blue something breaks through the ground. You have fruit!
No, you don't. You have a wee sliver of green that looks nothing like the fruit of your dreams. Do you give up? Do you stop watering and caring for this, this thing that isn't even the thing you were hoping for? You could. It would be easy to walk away in a huff because all of your hard work and patience has yielded nothing more than a tiny shock of green.
But you could stick with it. You could keep watering, weeding and waiting. You could keep hoping for more growth, for the fruit you intended to grow to show up. If you did keep tending and waiting what you would see is more growth. Still not the juicy apple you planned on but eventually you would face the undeniable truth that something is growing.
Now to be fair, you will grow old while you water, nourish, protect and strength This Growing Thing but one day, years down the road your tiny shock of green will actually develop into a serious tree. Its not the apple you had hoped for but still, a tree isn't a bad pay off for a years of tending The Growing Thing.
But wait. This tree is flowering! Its a thing of beauty now and that's even better than a regular old tree. What's this? Those flowers have fallen away and now Some Other Growing Thing is on our tree. Its small and green and there's not just one; there's a thousand and one! That Some Other Growing Thing is fruit! Its the fruit of your dreams, except there's not just one little fruit for you, there's a whole tree full of sweet delicious fruit. Enough to share with everyone you meet!
And so it is with kids, my kids at least. I have planted the seeds of what I hope their lives will grow and even though I see no miraculous growth right now, I have to trust with a little watering, a little nourishing, a little protection and time that they will grow. Their lives will be a bounty of every good thing, enough to overflow and share.
With a little time.
With a little patience.
Week Five: Give Love!
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute you.
1.Can you think of one or two people that make life rough for you sometimes? How do you feel about them?
2. Why do you think Jesus put so much emphasis on loving people, even people who are unkind?
3.What are some practical ways you can 'do good' to those who are unkind?
4.Ask Jesus to help you see and love these people like He sees them. Ask Him to fill your heart with peace, your words with kindness as you go about your day.
Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, "Love your enemies." It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long.
~Martin Luther King Jr.