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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

Fruit Baskets
Date Posted: January 12, 2007

I love fruit, not just because I am a fruit, but I've never been a big fan of fruit baskets. I guess I think of the stereotypical cellophane-wrapped plate with a couple of sad looking oranges and bananas topped by a lopsided shiny bow. Recently, though, I've seen some fruit baskets that I would love to receive, complete with exotic fruits and teas and CHOCOLATE!

But that's not the type of fruit I'm talking about. The Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) is what I'm seeking. Sure a banana is an important part of my on-the-go breakfast and I order a box of oranges and grapefruits from our high school band fundraiser every year, but as healthy as those fruits are they don't come close to the spiritual fruits I so desperately need to cultivate. A character in a novel I recently read, written by one of my favorite authors, Liz Curtis Higgs, speaks of "needing the entire fruit basket" to get through his day. He wasn't talking about apples and kiwi. He was asking God to help him realize and utilize the fruits of the Spirit with which he had been graced.

I love his analogy because I think most days I need the entire basket as well! I've even tried to identify the characteristics of a fruitful spirit with real pieces of fruit to remind me why I need them. Here's how I picture them: love is an apple because it's a comfort food our mothers and grandmothers constantly tried to feed us in various forms; joy is a sweet, juicy raspberry plucked from a country meadow; peace is a banana, in my mind it is a mellow fruit; patience has to be a kiwi because it takes so long to remove all that fuzzy skin and get to the delight inside; kindness is represented by a pineapple, a Colonial symbol of hospitality; goodness might be an orange bursting with the vitamin C so essential to good physical health; faithfulness is like a bunch of grapes carefully pruned and tended; gentleness brings to mind a soft, tender peach; self-control would be found in freshly-picked blueberries that are a temptation to eat even before they are weighed and paid.

These fruits make up the salad of Christian behavior. Without any one of these traits I cannot fully represent Christ to the world. Like real fruit, they are sweet to possess when ripe. But without maturity they can leave a bitter taste. I'm sure I have been responsible for that bitter taste in many people's daily salads. I have also tasted it from the immature fruits of others and did not enjoy it. My prayer is that God will help me ripen each of these fruits daily and know for whom they should be harvested.

Have a delicious week!

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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