Giving Your Best Fruit
A few days ago my favorite blogger Jon Acuff posted The Trouble With Fruit. This post, as most of his posts usually do, got me thinking about just how well I serve my Lord. Do I serve him the very best I have when I am at my very best, or do I serve him from the bottom of the barrel with the very worst of my fruit?
I can do better, I admit it.
The thing is, it is easier than one might think to do better.
Consider the woman in Luke 7:36-50 who knew she was sinful yet anointed the Living Christ with oil and then proceeded to wash his feet with her hair. She started serving the Lord on her face before him and gave him the very best she had even though she knew she was not worthy. I think this is where I started serving the Lord. I knew I was extremely unworthy but gave what I had..which wasn’t much.
I guess to be fair I should share a little info about myself here. I’ve struggled with a life-threatening illness. Not too long ago I was a heap of pain, anger, rage, distress, hurt and disgust. I found out just why torture techniques work – you will say anything to make the pain stop! For that matter, agree to almost anything to make the pain stop.
The doctors told me there wasn’t much hope and for a while I had no hope for myself. This made everything worse. The stages of grief and pain were relentless and after suffering to that degree – death no longer looked so bad. It started to look like a release from the pain.
The interesting thing is though – when you lose everything, you have nothing to lose. It is heartbreaking and yet strangely liberating.
To make a very long story short: God’s Grace healed me to the point that I could actually type and do it well some days. I became truly grateful for each breath. I knew God gave me my life back because he had a purpose for me. Even knowing all that, when I first started trying to give back to the Lord, I felt so unworthy even ashamed to make any sort of offering that I hesitated.
Fear and doubt can be paralyzing. Like it or not – pray all you like but eventually you must behave your way to success. Sometimes you just gotta make a move.
I gathered up my courage and subsequently all the yarn I had from when I used to be healthy (I once was a pretty good knitter) and I gave it to the good ladies at my Church. They used the yarn to knit beautiful prayer-shawls for the shut-ins, the hurting, those in nursing homes and hospitals – “the sick people”…the people who were like me. I was so moved to hear how some of the people reacted. The Prayer Shawl Committee reported, “You would have thought it was the most precious gift they’d ever gotten”.
The blessings that flowed from that one act of giving opened my wounded heart and poured forth joy in ways I couldn’t even imagine. I made new friends. I felt I’d done SOMETHING for a change that was worth while and this gave me confidence..and hope.
Now I was hooked! I had to have some more of that! Next, I joined the choir even though I don’t read music. Despite my voice I made more friends…and suddenly life came flooding back into my lonely existence. I then joined the Nursery Committee. It was a light assignment and I figured I could check the Nursery once a week for things they needed. More blessings flowed to me. Next assignment – do the Church Website.
I never in a million years thought I could do that again and do it well. Guess what? I recently finished the Church Website ! I used to do that for a living and did it well, but my illness took a lot out of me.
I must be honest. It took me much longer to finish than I would have liked, but the great thing about giving is…there’s no pressure. It’s ALL GOOD.
I already see more friends and opportunities coming my way and more blessings than I can count. Most importantly I have a good feeling about myself even though I KNOW I’m not worthy.
God pays dividends like no earthly company! Not just one thing…but all aspects of my life got better. The more I gave (no matter how small or imperfect that I thought the gift was) the better that ALL aspects of my life got at a much higher rate of return than I gave! Love, Friendship, Health, Happiness, and JOY filled my life from every angle. The first act of giving which seemed so miniscule and insignificant to me brought such unexpected blessings that I couldn’t resist doing it again.
What I have learned from my ever so small gift of yarn is that not only is it worth it to give, but it’s necessary to be truly fulfilled. Most of all I learned that I will NEVER be worthy to give God a gift, but that it is His Grace that makes my gifts, however humble, acceptable and wanted and needed in his sight..
The incredible thing, that still brings me to tears and puts me once again on my face before God, is that God loves me so much that he blessed me with a second chance at life…a full and overflowing life that I SO do not deserve.
Don’t wait for perfection or what in your eyes is a “good gift”. Give today, whatever you have, and start from there. You will be amazed at what can happen! The fruit you give today is still needed…and you can bear better fruit as you go along! Give your best fruit today.