My dog Koda and I walked around the corner along a row of trees and bushes on the edge of
our property. As we made the turn, we were surprised to see a man with a step ladder helping himself to the black berries on one of our bushes.
My first reaction was visceral. “Who does this guy think he IS?” I thought, “How DARE he steal my berries?” I was ready to blast him and call 911! Then, God’s Spirit kicked-in.
You see, I never pick and eat those berries. I know I should. It’s just that we’re so busy. So, we typically leave them for the birds and/or compost as they fall to the earth, untouched, each year. Furthermore, the bush is on the edge of our lot. It looks like it may even be city property. Finally, this man was clearly needy and was probably just looking for food to supplement what his family could afford to buy. I felt like God was saying, “Why would you be angry at this man whose obviously poor for taking what you do not want?”
I repented, smiled, and kept walking….
I've reflected on this since and I wonder how many times we get angry, possessive, defensive, etc., over stuff that we don't really care about or want anyway? We see this in little kids. There could be a toy on the floor that they haven't touched in months. Yet, if another child wants it or DARES touch it, nuclear war ensues.
It's silly, but I think most adults also have "Berries" we protect out of pure selfishness. At work or even in ministry settings, this might manifest when a leader reassigns a task/project to someone else. We might have HATED that task and complained about doing it for years. Still, the minute it is given to someone else, we become jealously enraged. We often are like hoarders who grab and hold everything we can in our light little fists when, were we to follow Jesus, we'd let go.
Jesus said, "Give and it will be given to you...(Luke 6:38)." Yet, we'll fight to keep our berries---things we don't even like or use. Perhaps we'd be better served to listed to our Lord and the promptings of His Spirit. Maybe we just need to let go.
Maybe we just need to repent, smile, and keep walking.....
To that end,