My thoughts for this post were precipitated by a recent email from one of my sons asking me if there was anything in particular I’d like for Christmas–something not on my Amazon wish list. (I considered making that last bit a hyperlink–just for your own curiosity, of course.)
When I was a child, our family used to receive an annual gift of fruit from dear friends. Actually, the fruit was from Harry and David (not related to Ben and Jerry) and often consisted of a box of Royal Riviera pears from Oregon. My benchmark for pear excellence was established early in life, and I still consider them to be the best pears someone else’s money can buy.
So on this post-Black-Friday-wish list-pondering weekend, God’s wish list is worth contemplating. We could say that it contains anything God clearly tells us He wants us to do.
And fruit is definitely on the list. In John 15.8, Jesus says:
By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Bearing fruit is how others know we are Christ’s disciples. Saying I am a Christian and not bearing fruit is like putting one of those little green plastic “Honey Crisp” tags on a poplar tree. No matter what you call it, it won’t make apples.
But I’m not simply to bear fruit. I’m to be fruit.
Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
The first century Jews to whom James was writing (Jam 1.18) knew exactly what he meant. Leviticus 23 describes the feasts of Israel, one of which was the harvest celebration of firstfruits. The people were to gather the first and best of the grain and take a sheaf of it to the priest, who would wave it before the Lord as a thank offering for providing food for His people. So if I am to be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures, I must freely give myself as an offering to Him, grateful for the new life He has given me by the word of truth–the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ which “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”. (Rom 1.16)
The message of James 1.18 is simple: Every day is a gift from God to me, and from me to God.
Give God the gift of fruit.
Scripture references are from the English Standard Version. Fruit basket image is from ifood.tv.