A friend said these words to me over a year ago, and I continue to ponder the truth of them. How often (I ask myself) do I dash out before taking time to be with God? How often do I think I'm "too busy" to spend a few minutes with Scripture, too busy to let God feed me with His Word?
All too often I rush, 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 give the fruit of His Spirit an opportunity to grow. I allow Him 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)
I do not have to look far to see that these fruits of the Spirit 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, reading His Word and letting it become living and active in me (Hebrews 4:12), allowing Him time and space to cause His fruit to grow.
Then I shall go into the marketplace, no longer empty-handed.
I can carry to others what God has planted in prayer.
Painting: Emil Barbarini, Gemüsemarkt in einer Altstadt
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This post is an edited version of one from our 2012 archives