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Every Easter, my mother serves a delicious fruit salad. It is a healthy smorgasbord of taste and the perfect amuse bouche before our family feast. Yet left at the bottom of my fruit bowl each Easter are always a few sad pieces of neglected fruit. For me, it’s the grapefruit and pear, both fruits I enjoy, but just never seem to choose over the delicious alternatives of perfectly balled watermelon, cantaloupe, apples, and oranges.
Before I completely lose you into thinking this is a healthy eating food blog full of pretentious French phrases, allow me to get to my point and question: During Lent, which of the Spirit’s fruits do you leave at the bottom of your bowl? The question at the end of today’s 3-Minute Retreat wonders which fruit one might need most at this time. I posit we should also reflect on the fruits we use least, and think about why that is the case. Gallatians 5:22-23 lists these nine visible attributes to be, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” In the fruit bowl of life, it is hard to not immediately seek out all the love, joy, and peace one can find. I know it is easier for me to be generous than to be gentle, and I seek joy more often than I strive to be patient. Yet what I find neglected most of all in this holy harvest is self-control.
During Lent, of all these fruits, the one I should embrace the most is self-control. I need to stop treating it like the soggy detritus of my Easter grapefruit. The next 34 days require fasting, abstaining from certain foods, and this year for me, giving up all sugary drinks (I really love a cold Pepsi so it should be tough). Tending to the “self-control growing soil” is necessary during Lent and important to cultivate with great care throughout the year. I encourage you to embrace all of the Spirit’s fruits this Lent, whether they are your first preference or “bottom bowl.” Such an approach should lend itself to an outcome that I could only describe as, well, fruitful.