"If we don't spend time with God in prayer, then we go empty-handed into the marketplace."
I was reminded of times when I've dashed out without taking time to be with God. Times when I've decided I was "too busy" to spend even a few minutes with Scripture, too busy to let God feed me with His Word. I've rushed, malnourished and empty, into the marketplace - bringing nothing with me but my own flawed, weak human nature.
If I spend even a bit of time with God, however, I'm giving the fruit of His Spirit an opportunity to grow. I am allowing God to strengthen me, causing my life to overflow with goodness that will eventually nourish not just me, but also those around. It takes time for fruit to grow. It takes patience to sit through those dark silent moments of prayer when it seems nothing is happening.
"The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness, and chastity." (Galatians 6:22) We don't have to look far to see that these very things are in scarce supply in our workplaces and malls and media and schools and towns. There is a fruit shortage right before us, right here today. And it's severe.
I can do something about it, about the shortage, but I can't do it alone. I cannot manufacture fruit. I can only come to God in prayer, reading His Word and letting it become living and active in me (Hebrews 4:12), causing the fruit to grow.
Then I can go nourished to the marketplace, carrying Light into the shadows, sharing what God has planted in the secret of my prayer.
(Painting: Petrus van Schendel, Market, in US public domain)