I remember as a kid going into the grocery store and being amazed at how many fruits and vegetables there were on the shelves. I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to each of them. Sure, some would be eaten raw and others would be cooked with. And still others would be put in bowls to look pretty until someone got hungry. But there were so many that certainly they couldn’t all get purchased before they went bad.
I always hoped that would not be the case and that perfectly good fruit would not sit on a shelf until it rots and then gets thrown away. What a waste that would be! After all, there are far too many hungry people who would love to eat that fruit and enjoy how delicious it is. But there are many times when I have bought fruit and put it on my counter only to watch it rot before our eyes as we forgot it was there and did not eat it.
The spiritual fruit in our lives can be the same. Paul and Jesus taught us that our spiritual fruit comes from the work of the Holy Spirit inside of us to change our nature and make us produce attitudes and actions that bring glory to God. But what happens when that spiritual fruit is not used? What happens when we hide it and it is never enjoyed by those around us who are hungry for spiritual nourishment?
Jesus taught in Matthew 5 that our actions and attitudes are meant to be made public. Take some time to read the entire chapter. It’s okay, we’ll be here when you get back. Now that we have context let’s focus on a specific part:
Matthew 5 (NLT):
 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
He called his followers the salt of the earth and the light of the world. In their culture salt was a food preserves and light was a symbol of God’s goodness in the world. Using these two ideas from their culture Jesus was emphasizing the need for his followers to preserve their world through morality and just living. He wanted their spiritual fruit to be seen by others and give glory to God.
Sadly, like the fruit on my counter in the past, our spiritual fruit often sits on the counters of our hearts and never is seen by others. We do not build relationships and share our faith with those who do not know Christ. We do not get involved in ministries that reach out to those in need or even take the time to cultivate a consistent and growing devotional time with our Creator.
When this happens the fruit goes to waste. It is like salt that has lost its flavor or light hidden under a basket. It is useless and does the opposite of what it was intended to do. God intends for our lives to be a beacon to those who need him so that they are drawn to us. Then we can share his love in word and deed and help them to know the truth of his love. If we do not use it then we are actually going in the opposite direction God wants for us!
Here then is our challenge for today: how are you using your spiritual fruit? Remember our big truth this week is that “Our heart intent is shown in our actions”. If we truly want to follow Christ and share in his deep desire to seek and save the lost then we will use our spiritual fruit to bring glory to God with our words and actions. If we don’t then we are just letting it go to waste. Just like the food that could have been eaten by someone who was hungry our spiritual fruit is meant to bring spiritual nourishment to those who need Christ.
I want us to examine our lives and see how we are being used by God. Are you plugged into a ministry that consistently builds relationships and teaches the truth about eternity? Are you on purpose reaching out to others in all the venues of your life to serve them in the name of Jesus? Are you worried sick that those you love will die and go to Hell if they die without Christ?
Remember that this life is temporary and eternity is real. We all have the chance to impact others and follow in the footsteps of our master, Jesus the Christ. I pray that in your life and my life that every day we would realize that we are missionaries living in a foreign land with the purpose of sharing the Gospel with everyone who needs it. Let’s allow the spiritual fruit in our lives to be used and not go to waste.