Bitter or Sweet?

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Taste and see that the Lord is good

Ps 34:8

Has your summer been fruitful?

I think for many of us, we don’t really think about being fruitful as we go about our busy lives. This evaluation comes more as a result of hindsight.

It also really depends on what ‘fruitful’ means to you!

For me, the summer, and so much of life, has been a wrestling match between work and business commitments and deadlines, vs kids, family, summer vacation and fun!

How do we determine if we’ve been fruitful or not?

How would you determine if a tree has been fruitful?

Is it quantity?

Or quality?

Last year my vine produced a SHED load of grapes, but this batch had skin that was really bitter, and we ended up throwing them all away because no one enjoyed eating them.

This year, we had a much smaller quantity of clusters. We had learned that spacing them out while they’re growing, and pruning them back as the year progresses is a better method for healthy and delicious grapes. Our harvest this year is unbelievably sweet, despite there being less of them.

One thing I noticed in our pruning experience, was that it wasn’t easy. My husband would have to climb up and do some sort of contortionist gymnastics to reach these premature clusters. They were hacked down and thrown into a trash bag. He would get down off the ladder dishevelled and sweaty, and with nothing to show for it.

I also noticed that I had uncomfortable feelings bubbling up, I felt guilty that I was wasting all these potential grapes and just throwing them away… When so many are starving in Africa! It felt like a waste. It felt like I wasn’t being a good steward of what I had been given.

I think the vine’s story is a beautiful commentary on life. Sometimes we try and cram so much in. We work hard to have a high output, but do we have a bitter taste in our mouths at the end of the season?

The act of pruning doesn’t always make logical and rational sense. We may be cutting back on something that looks like it’s growing beautifully. We may be giving something up that we have always depended on or needed. Maybe God has called you to step out of the boat, or to trust Him to calm the waves or provide for the 5000?

Life isn’t about doing as much as we possibly can, it’s about doing the right things, and finding ourselves in the riptide of his will.

Only then do we start seeing the quality of our fruit improving and bringing sweetness to our lives and those around us. Sometimes we beat ourselves up for not doing enough, or feel the need to cram our day to the max with ‘stuff’. But what is the quality of it?

Sometimes it's all about biting off less to chew, and savoring the moments that come our way. I've worked hard in this season at balancing, and often failed. But I think the taste at the end of the season, is more one of sweetness, even though there's been a few bitter seeds along the way!

How is your season tasting?

"Dare to Taste" Humming bird - Watercolor Painting Print
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