Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I Am Thine O Lord"1 (Lyrics)
1 Peter 4:10 – As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. (ESV)
Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. (NKJV)
In 1920, when Grandma was beginning her family, she bought an improved homestead of 160 acres, with a home, a barn, and a large orchard. The orchard had already seen its prime, but was still producing apples from what had once been well-tended trees. Year after year, the trees blossomed and yielded small Yellow Delicious apples.
The large old orchard was a hubbub of activity for Grandma's children and grandchildren throughout the years. They could be seen climbing the apple trees and playing chase around them, riding a horse or a bicycle, or learning to drive a car without hitting the trees.
During harvest, her family of all ages worked inside and out to prepare the apples. Grandma was a taskmaster who taught her children and grandchildren to appreciate and be grateful to God for everything. At times, she even made the work seem like fun. As pies, apple bread, and sliced apples cooked, apple fragrance spread through the air. The young kids cranked the handle of the cider press. Everyone in the family had a job. Many times, church members and neighbours came to help, taking goodies home with them. When we had finished processing all the fruit, it was divided between all five of grandma's children's families. In addition, her wide pantry shelves, freezer, and extra refrigerator were filled with everything apple. We surveyed our handiwork and knew that we had done well, because of our accomplishment for family, neighbours, and those in need.
Grandma enjoyed the blessings of the orchard and recognized that the apples had come from God. Her gift to God in return was in the preparation and sharing of her apples. She never wanted anything that God provided to go to waste, and she always shared with others, which left a lasting impression on her family. Her apple harvest activities were a testimony to her faith. Even when she had lost her vigour and moved more slowly, she didn't let her age or the deterioration of her untended, aging orchard present a barrier to the fruitfulness of her Christian life. Her joy was in sharing with others.
Are we obedient to the prompting of the Spirit to see the needs of others? God doesn't measure the fruit of the Spirit by bushel baskets. He just wants us to help others through our love, peace, joy, gentleness, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and self-control. It doesn't matter what age we are, or the size of the fruit. There is something that we can do for others. Let's be careful to notice their needs.
Prayer: Dear Father, we thank You, not only for the fruit of the Spirit, but for the fruit of our orchards of service that You have given us to serve others, even when we are aged, as You strengthen us to serve again in some way. Instead of an entire bushel basket, may we continue to share, one apple at a time, to meet the needs of others. Amen.