Once upon a time, many years ago, when pastors had not yet become superstars and ‘mega church’ had not yet been invented, in the days of home visits to check on spiritual health and hospital visits to pray for the sick, congregations were shepherded by many faithful pastors like my mom and dad for whom the little wall plaque ‘Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last’ was THE mission statement. Their income was dictated by the church board and there were always those whose philosophy seemed to be ‘Lord, you keep them humble – we’ll keep them poor.’

It was only when we faced our own challenges at Bible School, raising 3 children on a rather limited budget, that I really came to understood how creative my parents were in making sure we had a balanced diet. Mom was the gatherer. The produce from her garden, leftovers, edible gifts from loving congregation members, everything was used, and ‘But I don’t like it!’ not only fell on deaf ears, but was sometimes seen again at the next meal time! Dad was the bargain hunter. He loved to go to the market and bring home bags and boxes of whatever was on special.  We children were always happy to see fruit – not so happy with pumpkin and cabbage 😊We liked ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ but did not care for ‘Eat your vegetables– they’re good for you’!

Roses in my home make me happy, but I have learned that what makes God happy is fruit on the table. Even the most beautiful flowers are only a decoration that ends up in the trash. The Word keeps reminding me that people’s souls are starving and as a disciple of our Lord Jesus, I am called to a life lived in such a way that someone can reach out in their hunger and take a big bite!  Fruit is nourishment but it needs to be eaten todo good, otherwise it just rots in the bowl.

‘Produce fruit that proves you have repented!” shouted John the Baptist at the Pharisees because they had nothing to offer the hungry multitudes except their smug pride of race. But today I am reminded by Paul that a life lived in step with the Holy Spirit is different. Such a life produces fruit that is sweet and enticing, ‘…… love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ 

Let it be so, gracious Holy Spirit!