Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bursting with Goodness


Today Torrey was out with a bunch of girls who were helping Shelley shop for a wedding dress. So when I wanted to take a break from studying, I grabbed my camera and went for a walk. The weather this morning was beautiful. It rained last night for the first time in many months, and the sky was filled with white and gray clouds, with spots of deep blue here and there. Now just two blocks down the road from our house is a railroad track, and separating the track from the street running parallel to it is a row of shrubs. Mixed into the hedge are pomegranates, and I had in mind to take some pictures of the fruit and at the same time check to see if any were ripe enough to bring home as a treat for Torrey – she loves the things. In the Middle East where she grew up, pomegranates are a sign of luxury and extravagance, and as I walked along the tracks, I was reminded of the extent to which God has blessed my life extravagantly. As I searched for ripe fruit, I stumbled upon an opening in the bushes, and there, tucked away from the view of all but the closest passersby was the makeshift shelter of a homeless man. I was immediately struck by the vast contrast between my life and his. Last night, as I lay in my dry, warm bed, I was excited to hear the rain come, but here was someone who’s only protection from the storm is a greatly inadequate assembly of plastic bags strung between the branches of the pomegranate bushes. I so often take for granted myriads of blessings that others live without, such as the roof over my head and a lack of concern for the food I eat each day. God has blessed me so abundantly, that my life is bursting with goodness, like a pomegranate that is split open for lack of strength to hold back its own ripeness. I firmly believe that what God gives to us is not merely for our own pleasure and benefit, but that it ought to be used for the good of others. If we truly consider others better than ourselves, we cannot help but give out of our abundance to those who are in need. As I continued on my way I decided that this was one way that I could use a little of what God has given me to bless another, so I returned to offer the man some assistance. He refused, but today was a poignant reminder of the need we have as believers to be prepared to give of ourselves and of the things we tend to think of as our own for the good of those around us.

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