Every year, I'm amazed at how much good fruit falls to the ground without ever being tasted or savored by people who could benefit from it. Our organic lemon trees get filled with so much fruit that the branches break under the sheer weight. When I can, I'll cut off a branch laden with lemons and drag it to the car, filling up the back of my Toyota with hundreds of lemons for our local food bank. And that's not even scratching at the surface.
I wish I had a crew who could glean our fields every year to share our fruit with those who could really use it. Depending on the lemon pick schedule and when we can get people into harvest it all, so many good lemons are left on the ground. They just ripen and plop to the ground.
So much wasted lemonade!
Which is why the quote "He who hurries delays the things of God," stopped me in my hurried tracks!
I don't know about you, but when I'm in a hurry, I "don't have time" to stop and pick up all the good fruit around me. Let alone take a moment to smell the incredible fragrance of lemon blossoms.
So I'm doing my best to slow it down. Last week, I had the privilege of attending the first in a series of four-day retreats over the next two years called The Journey. It's sponsored by my friends at The Leadership Institute. The Journey was created, in their words, "to refresh and inspire leaders who listen to God, follow Jesus' rhythm in their lives and lead from the overflow." It was just the invitation I needed.
In our four days together at the beautiful Prince of Peace Abbey just south of my home in nearby Oceanside, our small group of eleven prayed and processed what it means to live, lead and serve out of an overflowing heart. I had plenty of needed time in solitude, silence, community and conversation over good meals about what it means to first follow Jesus well before attempting the precarious art of leadership.
And so today, I'd like to not leave any good fruit on the ground. Just like an over-abundance of our lemons, I'd like to glean and share some insights learned. I hope you'll be encouraged to consider how God might be calling you to waste time with Him and lavishly allow it to overflow in the lives around you.
Allowing our creativity and art to stream from the overflow of our hearts is far better than trying to drink from the dry wastelands of unsatisfied thirsts and unmet longings.
Here's some choice gleanings and paraphrases from my notes in my time with Alan Fadling, Chuck Miller, Paul Jensen, and Jon Byron at The Journey.
- He who hurries delays the things of God. (Coffee cup quote!)
- We mustn't allow technology to be a substitute for real, face-to-face relationships.
- Does my service come from the overflow of what God is doing in my heart and life?
- "Saints burn grace like a 747 burns jet fuel on takeoff." Dallas Willard
- Jesus meets us in our deepest places so that He can fill us to overflow.
- We need to move past our comfort zones, our limitations and assets to depend on the overwhelming grace and strength of God. (2 Cor. 12:7-12)
- Don't focus on your Dead Sea or the wilderness before you... look to God in His temple.
- God always initiates and invites. He is the Producer in our life.
- When you don't abide in Christ, your sense of self is at risk. Low abiding can yield high anxiety.
- In John 15, Jesus offers you his friendship, love and joy. He calls you his friend. Does this thrill you and make you feel uncomfortable? Why?
As artists and creatives with a dynamic calling, you influence those around you with your life and your art. My encouragement to you is to pay attention to the condition of your heart. Let the dynamic quality of your art come from the rich overflow of who you are becoming in Christ.
Question: Which quote speaks to your heart today? What might Jesus be saying to you?
I'd love your comments.
(For more information about The Journey and The Leadership Institute, click here to visit their website. Click here to pick up a copy of Alan Fadling's excellent book, An Unhurried Life... you have to love any book that starts with this opening line: I'm a recovering speed addict.)
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