Galatians 5:22-23a – The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (NIV)
Our grape arbour is filled with grapes this year. What a joy it is to go pick this fruit directly from the vine. These are Muscadine and Scuppernong grapes. One must dispose of the skin and the seed before eating these, so I approach each grape slowly and thoughtfully. The seeds have to be worked out of the grapes and the skin thrown away. They are unlike the seedless grapes I buy in the store, which can be eaten, skin and all, with no fear of swallowing seeds. These seeds which I so tediously extract would produce more grapes if I'd plant them and give them the right conditions under which to grow and multiply.
I thought of the fruits of the Spirit. Like the grapes from the vine, these fruits, if handled correctly, would multiply in our lives, making us better persons and blessing others who touch our lives.
Have we allowed the fruits of the Spirit to be manipulated like the hybrid grapes until there are no seeds to be planted and spread to others? Have we made them beautiful and enjoyable for our use only, with no means to spread them to others?
The good things of life need to be shared and multiplied, but unless the seeds are there, they become dead ends, one-time-only fruits that evidence the Spirit in us, but don't allow us to pass them on to others.
Have we allowed our churches to become hybrids — producing the very best programs possible in the most beautiful buildings we can afford, yet producing a fruit that contains no seeds?
Prayer: Lord, help us to understand that our spiritual fruits must contain seed that will multiply and grow to keep Your church going. These seeds cannot be manipulated but are Your natural product created within us. Make us seed producers in Your church. Amen.