But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23
I found myself at the grocery store on the night before Thanksgiving. Not smart, but it happens. I finally made it to the check-out realizing that everyone had very full carts, just like me, as they prepared for the holiday. This was going to take a while.
In line in front of me were two budget-conscious ladies shopping together, they were carefully watching the screen for prices as their items were scanned. As the turkey went through, they both reacted. It wasn’t the price they planned. This began an exchange as cashier tried to explain the pricing and the sale and the ladies were not having it. I was in for a longer wait and I had a couple options. I could get all frustrated and impatient or I could wait patiently.
I’m not always good at patient. In fact, I tell my students – don’t pray for patience or God will give you opportunities to use it.
Bob Goff, a national speaker and author, recently spoke at a conference I attended and he talked about his bucket. He used it in two ways, one was for a bucket list type of illustration and the other was as the bucket we all carry around. In my mind, this translated to the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit fills our bucket with fruit we can pull out what we need when we need it.
Back to the grocery store. I had a choice, I could pull from the bucket filled by the Holy Spirit, or I could kick it out of the kart and pull from my own irritation. Luckily, I chose the bucket. what fruit fit this situation? Patience, Kindness, and self-control came to mind. Somehow, 20 minutes in the store line feels like 2 hours – not sure why that is, but it is. I kept imagining my bucket sitting in the baby seat of the cart which was a little weird but it was working for me.
After some time, I realized the issue the ladies were having was due to how they were reading the screen so I tried on some gentleness and stepped in. Challenged resolved….then…the ladies realized they had forgotten one item and sent a runner to go find it for them. This is usually the moment of eye-rolling and a loud deep breath, but I just smiled. Good test God, what’s a couple more minutes?
I don’t share this story to say – wow look at me I am so godly. I share it because as I got out of my car at the next store, who should be walking out of it but those two ladies. We looked at each other and laughed. I felt like God was saying, “see, it matters”. How you walk each day in every situation matters. Those ladies didn’t know I’m a youth worker, but I do.
I’ve thought about carrying around a literal bucket, but the lesson of where I live from has stuck with me. Do I live from a bucket that is full of “me” or do I pull from a bucket filled by the Holy Spirit?
What do you fill your bucket with?
I’ve seen many people just kick their bucket right out the window. They throw character and integrity away on conflicts and misunderstandings. They lose sight of faithfulness and kindness as exhaustion and temptation step in. Do you need to be right and do it all yourself – or do you need to be Jesus?
It’s February, it’s the long haul between the New Year and Spring Break. In Michigan, it’s a month with little sunshine, cold, and slush. Yet, our hearts don’t need to be. God has given us his fruit, he delights in our use it. May your bucket be overflowing with joy and peace as you walk with him during these long months of ministry. May you reach in and pull out patience and self-control when needed. May you spill kindness and gentleness all over those that will experience loss this season. And, overall, may you love.
Image attribution: azgek / Thinkstock