Summer Fruit Cocktail


Matt Joldersma, First Presbyterian Church in Lake Wales, Florida

Fruit of the Spirit - 30 Hour FamineRight about the middle of summer becoming a plumber starts to look pretty enticing to a youth pastor. That or a garbage collector. Or unemployment. The summer schedule is rampant. The kids are hyper. The hours are incessant. And there is no time clock for us to punch out.  Wile E. Coyote’s was in a tree. I have checked the trees. All of them. Every tree. Every camp. Every conference.  Nothing.  The words “I quit” sound like an angel’s song.

Why don’t we do it? Why don’t we quit? We the professional youth workers?  We the part-time youth workers (as if there’s such a thing)? More incredibly, we the volunteers?  It isn’t the money.  See the above list of occupations. All of them get paid better than us. Better than many of us combined. And they have time cards. They get to punch out.  And I don’t mean the kid who has whittled us down to our very last nerve and is presently using it as a jump rope.

Fruit Cocktail of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22 lists the contents of the whole bowl of fruit that God gives us via his Holy Spirit to keep us going, summer or not.  Two of the fruits that are laying in there right next to each other are peace and patience. In the midst of all of the flying toilet paper and shaving cream and the mini-mouths speaking out of both sides at once and at a continuously high decibel are these two brightly-hued fruits:  peace and patience.

They taste good. They taste supernaturally good.  They especially taste good together. What a combination. Variations of this combo would make the recipe section of any high-end, life-would-be-better-if magazine.  Peace insinuates something accomplished and it tastes like fresh-plucked rest. Patience, meanwhile, insinuates something that will be accomplished but isn’t yet and it has overtones of a ripened guarantee.  Delicious.

Interestingly, only in the throes of a full-on ministry schedule does this concoction taste so sublime.  Apart from the mayhem, it tastes okay. It tastes fine. That’s true. Still, perhaps this is why we don’t quit. The fruit of the Spirit is particularly good in summer.  Perhaps this is why we carry on.  And why we peacefully, patiently use the employment section of the newspaper to carry the fruit rinds (and coffee grounds) out to the compost pile – when we finally get home.