“You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit- Fruit that will last.”
John 15:16 (Read John 15- worth your time!)
I love the taste of raspberry jam on toast in the morning, complimented by a steaming cup of coffee. We have been blessed here at Hope Springs Farm to have an abundance of raspberry bushes all over the property. Almost daily, I head out with the two littles in tow with their buckets in hand, to pick berries. Some are easy to get, right on the edge, bright purple and juicy. While others are far out of reach within the bramble of thorns. The inaccessible ones seem to look the largest and ripest, of course! We then take our harvest into the kitchen to begin the process of making jam. Cooking it down, mashing the berries, adding the sugar, etc.… It’s a process. First, choosing the ripe berries. I carefully scan the vines to find that which will bring the sweetest yield of jam. I also purposefully choose some that are not yet that ripe to balance the sugars.
“You did not choose me… but I chose you…” Sometimes this baffles me… okay, most days I’m stunned that God would even look my way. Accepting that He not only loves me, but has chosen me, and sings over me is just downright difficult to get my head around sometimes! I observe my heart. I see clearly places where I’ve stumbled, disrespected and hurt God in my sin and rotten living choices and rotten heart position, yet- there He is. He stands there at the edge of the thorns, sometimes even stepping into them, reaching out and choosing me… in all of my unripe, nastiness. He sees what I cannot, He rejoices in where He is taking me and drawing me. He envisions a sweetness that is growing and is yet to come as He adds more of His likeness and sweetness to my soul.
Some berries never get picked out of my patch. I can’t reach those luscious large ones in the center of the patch, but they have beautiful purpose- they will fall to the ground, decay and their seed will spring forth new growth.
See, nothing is wasted. No one is wasted. A single seed can spring forth an entire vine of new growth and fruit! All because of the connection with the vine and the ability to bear fruit that is ripe and useful.
Jesus chose first to give up His life to save us. His love was completely sacrificial. He didn’t have to do it, but He did. He chose to give up His rights for us. There is no greater love than this. This is the fruit that is eternal and lasting.
Makes me ponder how this plays out in my own life. How is it playing out in yours? There is so much discord and anger out in our world these days. How are we doing at sacrificial love as believers? Are you willing to put your opinion, and self-appointed doctrine on the back-burner to love well? Do you like to attack and stir up anger and dissension because you believe something (political or otherwise) is a point worth beating into people? Is my position on an issue more important than the people God has placed in front of me?
May this never be found true with us as Jesus followers. May we always be seen to deliver LOVE and then, if the Spirit leads, to speak truth into someone through us… we bring HIS Truth. But ALWAYS TRUTH in LOVE- always for the benefit of the other person… NEVER to benefit our rights or belief system-or our point. This is about bearing eternal fruit and bringing in a harvest of souls for the Kingdom of God. Loving people where they are, the way they are, and holding open the door for them to meet Jesus, the One Who Loves them that way. He loves them enough to bring an unveiling of truth to their eyes, if that is what is needed.
So, as I sit here with my coffee and jam, reflecting over my heart as I sit in the word, I want to challenge you to consider the fruit you are called to bring today. His fruit. He chose you to do it. He has placed beautiful fruit within you. Live it out. You are free to live and love because of who He says you are! He has chosen you!