The fruit of abiding – Love
I love fruit. I love to eat it. I love it in a bowl on the island in the kitchen. I love to smell it. I love to pick it. There is something about being able to take something directly from a tree or vine that requires no cooking, no preparing, because it is already ready for consumption.
This is how God planned our lives you know. This is what abiding produces. It produces ready to eat fruit.
I have never written or spoken on the Paula Deen controversy. Yet it felt fitting here. I have loved her for a long time. Her restaurant is one of my favorites. I wrote about her in my Savannah books and until she fried butter honestly I was with her! But what I see displayed over and over, on media, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Awards shows, on Late Night Talk Shows, is an excessive lack of love. We condemn. We criticize. We point out faults. We complain. We ridicule. We lack…well, love.
I found it interesting that the media who lauds itself for being “tolerant” was completely void of any remnant of it during the Paula Deen situation. I Peter 4: 8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” When Paula Deen confessed her sin publicly on television, I then watched as a famous media personality interviewed her in a manner that seemed to suggest there had never been one ounce of sin in his own life. Oh that my sins never have to be put on a morning talk show and displayed to the world. And oh that his never do as well. Yet, the media, the tolerant ones, were the place where the intolerance was most projected, and the church seemed to be the place the most love and grace were offered. Probably because it is those who are grafted in the vine who have at one time needed to pick the fruit of love or grace and found that in Jesus there was always a ready supply.
“Love believes the best.” I Corinthians tells us. And it does. Sometimes to a fault. Or sometimes to a wonderful conclusion. There have been times in my life I have done both. I’m not sure I regret either. Both allowed me the knowledge that I had given the best that I had.
I pray when a Paula Deen, or a close friend, or one of my children, or my husband need to pick the fruit of love that it is available on my branches. And I pray that in the seasons where I need to have it offered to me that I can find those who are grafted and bearing what I need most.
Could we with ink the ocean fill
Or were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God of above
Would drain the oceans dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.
We have been loved exceptionally well. The fact that we can fellowship Jesus at all in His holiness and our unworthiness is a statement of His exceptional love. The fact that He left the sanctity of heaven and was willing to enter into our humanity to redeem us was the greatest entrance of love. And because of how unworthy we truly are for it, may we always extend it as the privilege that it is.