- Value enduring inner confidence over skin-deep notions of beauty (06/12/16)
- Recognizing sacrifice on Memorial Day (05/29/16)
- Aspire to live, not just be successful (05/15/16)
- Don't give up doing good (05/01/16)
- 'This isn't fair' (04/17/16)
- Finding stillness amid the storm (04/03/16)
- The curious, the cheerful and the crotchety (03/20/16)
Harvesting the fruit of the spirit
Of all the Christmas cookies, pies and cakes none is feared but the dreaded fruitcake. It seems that nearly every family has a fruitcake story.
When the rare Christmas tornado came through town, it blew away Grandma's house -- walls, furniture, even the freezer. Everything was gone except for the kitchen table being held down by the fruitcake.
The soldier received this year's rum-filled fruitcake from mom in the mail only to have received last year's fruitcake two days later. Can you guess which one was more popular?
Fruitcake is loved by some, hated by most and has a list of ingredients as long as 5-year-old's Christmas list.
The Christmas list is both of song and legend holding the hopes and dreams of children young and old. My Christmas list this year is the stuff of fruit. It reads like this:
But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Unlike the fruitcake that uses dried fruits, candies and some questionable ingredients, the fruit of the Spirit are qualities that are living. Love, joy, peace and the rest are not tired and dried but are being grown and harvested in our lives. These are qualities that God by his spirit is growing in and through men, women, boys and girls throughout the world no matter the season of year. The hidden fruit of God becomes visible, set to harvest, ready to nourish.
Each of these fruits is presented in groups of three.
Love, joy and peace are sustaining fruits. They reflect a learned internal contentment that serves as a foundation of a living faith, a faith that sustains no matter the valleys that are walked through nor the mountains that are shouted from.
Patience, kindness and goodness are bestowed fruits. These are the fruits that are given away. These fruits are constantly being harvested even though they may never fully reach maturity. These fruits are always tested, particularly in department stores at Christmas.
Faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are dependent fruits. These are the fruits that those we love have learned to rely on.
Like the fruitcake, the fruits of the Spirit have a shelf life that lasts a lifetime. Top this Christmas list off with a new fly rod and my Christmas will be complete.
Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at www.robhurtgen.wordpress.com.