I was sitting on Saturday, going through THREE boxes full of apples prayed for and received at no expense. I didn't know if they would be there or rotten when I left them on the cool front porch an entire week before our retreat.
I had to trust.
And there they were, when we came back. Some had been gifted away by my mother-in-law during the week. Squirrels had fun with a few and I even suspect some adventurous deer made their way up the few steps to where the boxes sat on the porch. Wasps, warm in their fur coats, even visited and I was told none were fit for eating.
Yet there I sat, scrounging, sorting and readying piles. Piles to cut, some to share (with the wild life) and some that were, in fact, rotten.
The deer's box only 1/4 full, rotten ones countable on 2 hands and a marvel at what remained; this is not a waste... it is a miracle!
A friend told me before I left, after I lamented at not enough time to put up our fruit-filled feast, that 'one bad apple can spoil the bunch'. Jesus even cautions against weeds that grow amongst good vegetation. But He also talks, in Matthew 13, of leaving the weeds until harvest time and then separating the good from the bad.
I couldn't help but think of this parable as I sat carving the abundance God had blessed us with. Cutting around gashes and coring out bruises, what began as a blemished piece of fruit, not fit for eating as-is, became a clean, white, valuable potential in dishes to come.
I thought of how I will eventually be putting them with some sugar and butter and cinnamon and wrapping them in a prepared crust and baking them to perfection. I wondered, what if we were not so quick to discard people, like the careful picking thru those boxes of apples? What if we saw them for their potential; rotten or bruised parts carefully removed.
People, sin carved out, leftovers mixed with grace and wrapped with love... we are redeemed... others can be redeemed... just like the apples were redeemed, so, too, people can be. We must just be committed to letting nothing go to waste. Letting no one sit so long they become rotten.
I know the parable of the weeds is not simply carving out rotten fruit but to me, as I sat culling, carving and cutting, it became about that patience to wait. It was about being willing to take the time to separate the good from the bad. I thought of how Jesus gave me a chance... shouldn't I give others a chance too? Be willing to weed out the bad and get to the good... and use it?
If faith is 'confidence or trust in a person or thing, [a] belief that is not based on proof,' shouldn't our faith in God extend to our faith in mankind to be something more than what we see to the hope unseen?
It isn't easy, and it takes a lot of work, but my apple salvaging this weekend has inspired me to seek the souls that may be salvageable too and remember patience for the time of harvest... care to separate the bad parts from the good... and use it.
Dear friends, may you be encouraged to have patience for the harvest... to separate the bad from the good and use it.
Every life has testimonies of how God intercedes to show His power and glory. To read the first installment in a brand new series of books about God's divine work in one person's life, click below