Fruit Central

6 Feb

Can I recommend once again another read that I’ve enjoyed going back to over and over? Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic from Femina is a short little piece that has taught me lessons I replay often.

One of her chapters describes the nature of fruit trees. They produce an abundance of fruit if they’re healthy, and of the fruit they produce, there is often a lot of it that never gets eaten but rather falls off and is left along the way. That doesn’t stop the tress from doing what they’re supposed to do. They make their fruit, not caring who eats it or what happens to it. Rachel likens the fruit tress and their abundance to the way that we should be willing to produce fruit and not worry about it being wasted or scooped up and eaten. Sometimes our efforts to cook a new dish, make a knit scarf, or put together a pretty centrepiece seem futile when all we’re thinking about is who’s going to look upon our work and thank us. The fact is, we are called to bear fruit and not be worried about what happens to it. It doesn’t matter whether the creative effort we embarked on is appreciated or not. What matters is that we are willing to lavish our time and efforts on those around us, knowing that some of it will be appreciated, and very possibly some of it won’t even be noticed.

There’ve been times when I’ve spent hours cooking or baking or making Christmas decorations, hoping that someone would come and pat me on the back. Actually, I don’t wait to be patted, I often go to Serge when he comes home and before asking him anything about his day I say, “Did you notice the such-and-such I made?”. He knows that’s his cue to give me a verbal pat. It’s become something of a joke at times when either of us does things that we want the other to notice. Of course it’s nice to be acknowledged for hard work, and if we’re on the receiving end of someone’s efforts to show hospitality or care, we should definitely be looking for opportunities to show gratitude. But as the givers, are we giving out of a desire to be acknowledged? Do we want someone to come into our home and notice our cooking skills and praise us, or are we cooking unconcerned about whether or not anyone says a word of thanks? Are we willing to give up our time surfing the net to embark on a new scarf for a toddler who will only grow out of it in a matter of months, or bake those sticky buns that take 8 hours to rise before even getting them in the oven? <!–more–>

You have probably been with people whose “generosity” is calculated. It’s uncomfortable. They always seem to be tallying up the things they do for others mentally, and trying to make sure that they never pay more than they have to or give more of their time than absolutely necessary. You quickly make a mental note not to call on them for help again. That kind of giving is not giving at all. We may not feel like we’re being that selfish but when we withhold our time and talents because we fear that others may not appreciate or notice what we’ve done, we cease to bear fruit and be a blessing to others, just like a calculating scrooge who never wants to do more than his or her fair share.

God gives us abundantly more than we need and will ever appreciate. If you’ve ever watched that BBC series Planet Earth, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I mean, there are some completely awesome things going on in every corner of the globe as we speak. Beautiful sunsets crest over insanely high mountain tops where no one is there to see them. The oceans are filled with creatures that carry on their business before an audience of one. Stars fill the universe and light the night sky, millions (billions?) of which no one from earth can see without a telescope to speak of their existence. Why does He do it all? He is excessive in the best possible way! God lavishes His goodness upon us, and He even lavishes goodness upon us that we don’t even get to look at but simply know exists. None of it is wasted. It’s all there as a display of His awesome power and might. We don’t have that awesome power and might, but we are created in His image, to reflect Him in all we do. And one small way we can participate in that is by lavishing our gifts upon others, being generous with our time, making clothes and food that will only be grown out of and eaten up. Our homes can be a launching pad for this kind of activity. Fruit Central is what we’ll call it. What a place for our children to witness firsthand the generosity and goodness of God. Don’t we want them to see that about Him- that He is so good in giving us all things richly to enjoy? Let’s not talk about God’s generous heart and abundant love until we’re ready to live in the same way, lavishing our gifts so that our families and those around us can see that truth lived out.

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