The Grape Factor

Even though I grew up as a city girl, my grandma and grandpa fed us more like a farming family. This time of year, as I harvest our gardens I am so often taken back to my childhood in their kitchen.  Dinner was often a batch of boiled Potatos, sliced tomatoes and fresh corn on the cob. I loved when we had lamb patties with it.  My grandpa always had a garden behind the garage.  Every year grandma made huge batches of the family chili sauce recipe. We would head to the farm stores to get the produce. Grandma loved corn on the cob!!  But there were two other things that she loved that I don’t remember anyone else  eating except myself and her. We both loved the prune plums with their slightly crunchy tart yellow flesh inside and we both loved good old fashioned Concord grapes. Their gel like center with those pesky seeds inside tasted so good!

I stopped at one of the farm stores yesterday that she went to so many years before.  In peck baskets there were the beautiful dark purple grapes calling my name.  And just like in grandma’s house, there’s only one of my kids who love to sit and eat them with me.  We ate to our contentedness last night. And then this morning I got to making the grape jam. 

I’m not a grape jelly fan. But my kids are.  The first batch came out much softer than I had planned. I think I added a little too much water when I first started simmering the grapes.  The second batch came out perfect!  I lowered the amount of water to start with and simmered a little longer. The concentration was just right.  You never would know by the color of the jam that there is any difference between the two batches. By all appearances, they are the same. But I know one is richer than the other.  It brought to mind my own walk with Jesus. At times, I’m steeped in His word and the fullness and richness is evident in my actions and in my own heart.  But at other times, I’m a little light on the quantity or quality that comes from time spent with God.  On the outside, the appearance doesn’t change.  But the flavor…the fullness…the wisdom just isn’t what it could be if I had started the day with more of Him.  A watered-down version of Him in me is not enough.  

Dwight L Moody once said “Merely reading the Bible is no use at all without we study it thoroughly, and hunt it through, as it were, for some great truth.”  It needs to be a all the fruit and very little water!  It needs to be lots of Jesus and very little us!  It helps us to be the strongest, fullest follower of Him we can be.  

In the winter, when my kids open the jars that came out of the autumn harvest, they’ll taste that goodness.  They might like one more than the other because of the flavor.  Or they might just eat it up without caring that I worked harder to make the second batch better. The quality might not matter to them. But I’ll know that the concentrated jars are the better ones.  How full of the Word are you?  How concentrated is your life with all of God’s wisdom and His power?  Pack in all you can!  You will have a lot more flavor for the world around you!  

 Psalm 119:96-98 To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless. Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies!

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