My knife slices cleanly through the thin golden skin,
revealing the bright orange flesh of a papaya.
And I am suddenly very aware of what I'm doing.
I'm cutting into a fruit that I never ate in the US,
because there it was a luxury.
Here, papaya trees grow rampant, and the papaya above cost 15 cents.
We eat papaya almost every day.
And we eat pineapple almost every day.
Yes, they are small ones, but they are the sweetest pineapple you've ever had.
They, along with the papaya, are the cheapest fruit in town.
These fruits, exotic by some standards,
are staples in this economy.
And this slicing open of a papaya also opens a door somewhere in my mind.
As the seeds slide over and around the blade of my knife,
the seed of an idea plants itself inside my head.
Not all fruit is equally valuable to all men.
What is of value to us
may be a fruit you would be more than ready to trade for one of our papayas.
I won't tell you how much we might be willing to pay for a fresh strawberry.
Or for any fresh berry,
or a Bartlett pear,
or a peach.
Fruit that's not only rare,
it's just not to be found in this part of the world.
So, I wonder, are the fruits of the Spirit also not all of equal value in all men?
The fruit of the Spirit I might value most, because it is most rare in my life,
might be plentiful in your life.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Against such things there is no law.
The joy I find most exotic, most unattainable, is more valuable
when it finally is found growing in the soil of my heart.
Conversely, the fruit of gentleness may grow more naturally there, so though it may be considered of great value to another, could it be that God sees it of less value in me, because it came more easily, more naturally?
Could it be that not all fruit is of equal value?
When I find myself craving peace,
when I ask the Lord of the Harvest to develop that fruit in me,
despite the hostile soil
and the weeds that would choke it out,
finally brings the fruit of peace in my life,
is it not of greater worth than if it had come easily to me?
So I take heart.
Those most rare fruits,
the ones I crave to see in my life,
are the fruits that even in a small, under-grown, unripe condition
may actually be of greater worth in the sight of my Maker.
*edited from the archives
We've been savoring the fruit of our homeland these past couple of months;
the cherries, blueberries, peaches and honeydew melon.
The tastes bring back floods of memories.
These are the fruits which, to a native Filipino, would be truly exotic!