“God is your gardener, Jesus is the vine, you are the branch and the Holy Spirit bears the fruit.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 14, 2021
For he was a good man [Barnabas], full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. Acts 11:24
My grandmother was a good person—an essential for any grandparent’s job description. Her goodness was real to me in how she lived out integrity. As a seasoned follower of Jesus, what she believed was modeled by how she behaved. And the words she spoke were a commentary on how she did life. She kept her word, modeling the famous proverb, a good name is better than riches. Her goodness extended to her generous hospitality, opening her heart and home to hungry souls. Most of all, Grandmother’s goodness was grounded in God. Full of the Holy Spirit and faith, she bore good fruit and many people including myself came to faith through her faith.
Barnabas was a good man. The name Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement”—his encouragement expressed itself in financial generosity, not giving up on a quitter [Mark], endorsing the unseemly character of a new Christian [Paul], a fiery zeal to share the gospel with unbelievers and radically infused in other’s joyful gratitude to God! A Levite, which means he was a member of the Hebrew tribe Levi—he likely assisted the priests in worship in the Jewish Temple and was a faithful leader who gave his regular tithes to support the ministry. A very good person!
“Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another” (Romans 15:14).
Do you look for the goodness that can be found in difficult people or circumstances? Avoid obsessing over the 20% of a relationship that irritates you or the 20% of a hard situation that threatens to distract you from God’s goodness. Instead, stay focused on the 80% of a relationship that has influenced you in a positive way. A prayer. An affirmation. Love. Care. Wisdom. These attributes in others move you to the best version of yourself. Goodness grows when observed and appreciated in good people. The Spirit uses imperfect people to grow our goodness like God’s.
Most importantly, goodness comes from the fruit of the Spirit. My wife Rita grows delicious tomatoes because she daily nurtures her plants in a conducive environment—a greenhouse. In a similar fashion God is your gardener, Jesus is the vine, you are the branch and the Holy Spirit bears the fruit. Sometimes life can become cluttered with little distractions. Like small suckers that sprout between the vine and the branch quietly syphoning away the fruit’s nutrients, so a life can be drained of energy. Humility submits to its loving gardener God. And His tender pruning, though painful at times, will remove competing affections that stunt your spiritual fruit. Pruning grows your capacity to flourish in the fruit of the Spirit. Let God nurture and grow your goodness. As others observe your goodness, remind them of your good God Almighty. He is always good.
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13).
Heavenly Father, grow my goodness to reflect your goodness, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
What “sucker” (sin) might be stunting my spiritual growth and require the tender pruning of God?
One House Worship/Naomi Raine: Good
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