Tuesday, March 4, 2014


“You can have a piece of fruit.”

I cannot tell you how many times a day that I say that.  With 7 kids living at home, someone is always ‘starving’ and wanting to eat before or after meal time.  We have a pretty general rule of thumb.  You can grab a piece of fruit.

The fruit here is fantastic.  I know that in the States whole food is all the rage.  In other countries it is the only option.  Here the fruit is naturally grown and it isn’t cross bred for appearance.  Our fruit may not look good, but it is good.  Case in point.  The first time that Mercy ever visited the States she was two years old.  I took her to an appointment with me at a Starbucks.  I bought her a banana while waiting.  Back story: She eats five or six bananas a day.  

She took one bite out of this delicious looking, vibrant-yellow, perfectly curved banana and handed it back to me.  She said in her two year old Spanglsh way, “No es una banana daddy, no es”.  I told her that it was and gave it back to her.  She tried again.  “It looks like a banana, but no es.”

Here, our fruit is fantastic.  It is sssooo good.  We eat a lot.  We typically buy over 50 lbs a week.  

This past weekend we purchased 100 bananas to take to poor children in the South part of town.  It is for a Bible club that we sometimes help out with.  Because of Carnaval weekend (huge holiday), there were only 60-ish kids there.  So, we had 40 bananas left over in our big Ikea bag that we brought here to use for hauling things.  

I did not know this.  I had no idea that 40 bananas has been put in the back of my SUV in a plastic bag in the hot weather (it is summer here).  I did not know.  I emphasize that I did not know, but after a few days I found out.

The bananas, which had begun as this wonderful, tasty, full of texture gift of God had turned to mush…I began to smell something and as I turned to my Sherlock Holman deductive and investigative skills I quickly discovered a juicy surprise.  The bananas were almost liquified. They were beyond mush. They stunk.  They dripped.  There was about a 1/2 gallon of banana juice in the Ikea bag…hallelujah that it is water proof. 

Fruit wasted.  What is the purpose of fruit?  There are basically two. Fruit provides something that others need—food.  It also provides seeds for the next generation of fruit to provide something that others need.  

Fruit is not made to sit in a bag, nor is its purpose to decorate our home in a nice wicker basket.  Fruit is not designed to sit around and not benefit someone.  Fruit unused spoils.

I think that this is a problem with much of modern Christianity’s teaching.  We have filled our sermons, blogs, and bookstores with self-help materials.  The Christian life is all about, lets be honest for a moment shall we, it is all about being a rich, moral, nice person.  It is all about making my life better.

Before you argue with that, ask yourself:

When was the last time that you helped the needy?
When was the last time that you did something for someone (other than your family) for no other reason except that God loved them?  Something that could not be paid back with anything other than gratitude?

How much of your income do you give away? 

Who do you serve?

When is the last time that you told someone about the Good News of Jesus Christ?

How much of your Christian life/teaching is designed to help you be richer (financial principles), have a better marriage, do a better job parenting, etc.

How much of your energy goes into making your home nicer? 

Be honest.  How much of your life is about you?

God says that we can know ourselves by our fruit.  He gives us fruit.  But that fruit is not for us, it  is for others.  He did not give us fruit so that we could have a spiritual fruit basket on our nice Christian table.  He gave us fruit so our lives can benefit others.

Don’t let your fruit just rot and stink.  


Seth Powell said...

Great post!

Becky said...

Thanks for the word. I don't want to rot.

Stumbler said...

You will rarely find something written so much from the heart.

This is a great blog Joe.

(As a funny - this has just highlighted "blog" as a misspelled word. On a BLOG! Go figure.)