Fruit for the giving

The taste of the berries, each one a burst of sweetness, is an extravagance.

I dig my spoon into the bowl again and delight in its fullness, brimming with blue and red fruit. I am a blessed man.

Take a step back in time. I am deep into a field of blueberry bushes, each one laden with ripening fruit, clearly cared for by the new owners of the farm, a short drive from my house. The sun slides out occasionally from behind clouds. Birds, startled to find a competitor for their hoard, flit and chitter. I ignore them and fill the bucket hanging from my belt. There is plenty for all.

Take a step farther back. I am in the back yard of a friend, away on vacation. Her raspberry bushes are hemmed in by chicken wire, but the branches exuberantly arch into the yard. The reddest of the plentiful berries slip off their cone-shaped core with ease. It’s hard not to eat all the plunder on the spot.

Take one last step much farther back. I am a boy in a rain slicker, hunched over wild blueberry shrubs, my back to the blowing mist. My parents have brought my siblings and me to a bluff in Nova Scotia this afternoon to fill our camp buckets with wild berries. We have always had a treasure-seeker’s eye for such bounty.

 

We are meant to be like an abundant berry bush. Jesus said, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:8) His work in us it not meant to remain a personal, internal matter. It is to overflow into bringing delight to others. The berries are not for the bush.

When I have meditated on the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, I normally point the magnifying glass inward toward my soul. How patient, kind, joyful and loving am I? But in thinking about fruit this morning, perhaps I should look outward and ask: how much do others benefit from these traits? Does that work of the Spirit bring delight to people around me? Is Jesus sweet to them?

 

Standing in my kitchen, I take a handful of firm blueberries and drop them, one by one, into the pancakes I’ve ladled out onto my griddle. My college-bound daughter and her sleepover girlfriends are waking and I am making them a treat for breakfast.

The sweetness I’ve tasted just has to be shared.

Jesus, work your character into us that we might be as sweet to the people in our lives as ripe berries on the bush. For your glory and pleasure.

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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