Fruit and Fruitcake
I’d say I am one of the few weird ones who really likes fruitcakes.
Of course I also like certain fruits although most times I am too lazy to even wash or peel or open them myself, so I only eat them when somebody else have done it for me. I know, lame, right?
I would not hold it against you if you call me a fruitcake either. No, on second thought I would. So just call me loco then.
Anyway, the reason I am talking about fruits and fruitcakes is that because we are in that particular season called Lent.
Lent or Lenten Season is what Catholics and some other Christian denominations call the period which starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday and it changes from year to year.
Again, you might think me as loco again, for what has fruits or fruitcakes got to do with Lent.
Well it’s a long story but I will try to shorten it and put it down for you.
I was raised in the strict Catholic tradition, went to Catholic schools all my life, well not all my life but for 16 long years.
I know about Lent, I know about Ash Wednesday, I know about Easter Sunday, I know all the traditions.
But then in my 20s, I have slowly become an Agnostic. I use that term only because we need to make a distinction here, for I do not believe in labels myself. But for this purpose that is what I would consider myself or that would be what most people will call me in most of my 20s.
At some points during that time, I might have even become an Atheist, again only as a label.
Most times I was a Skeptic.
Some of you are probably able to identify with me as I say this and the rest of you are probably shaking your head and sitting there judging me by now (okay, not out loud but you were thinking it, admit it).
Well, what can I do, “I can’t tell a lie.” as someone popular once said.
Well I would be lying if I said that myself, for “I am a liar and a cheat.”
I was a struggling businessman for many years so that’s my excuse. Come up with your own excuse, will you. But I have made every effort to say the truth and be truthful to myself and to others for over a decade now. For I tell myself, what would it profit me if I would lie to you, especially to somebody I do not even know or will ever know or will ever care to know. Some days I am successful, but some days I trip down and fall.
Anyway, going back to me having my doubts and my uncertainties about my faith, that was me for many, many, many years. And don’t you sit there and tell me you that you haven’t have those times in your lives as well. If you don’t, then maybe that is why people outside your faith look at you and label you as a Hypocrite. By faith here I mean even those that do not believe in God, for that is still faith right? We all believe something, so that is our faith (not believing in something is also faith).
Okay, where was I? In my early 30s, I heard a group of three Africans from three different African tribes who were united in their faith. They are able to travel from country to country only by sharing their faith and receiving contributions from people who come listen to them. You know they were banished and exiled from their individual tribes but was only able to came together because of their new common faith. I didn’t contribute to their undertaking that night or ever. I do not even remember their names or where they went to next. But I do know, that something changed within me after that encounter. That was in 1999.
After a few weeks, in the year 2000, I heard a preacher who was a few years younger than me, speak about this man we call as Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
And it might or it might not be during the season of Lent, I am not so sure now (you do know that I am still trying to tie this up all together right?)
But that singular message changed my life from then on, after that I became a believer of that book we collectively call as the New Testament. But not without me researching and investigating on my own with an open but still a critical mind and reading and rereading this book which I used to doubt too for many years.
I was then able to understand why I believe the things I used to believe in. And I was able to understand why I don’t believe in the things I do not believe in. But then I also started to believe in things that I used to not believe in and I started to not believe in the things that I used to believe in. And I also understood the reasons why I lost my old faith and how I embraced and found a new one.
We all need to do that, wouldn’t you agree?
So that is why I do not believe in labels, as often we change and we go from label to label. From old to new like everything else in nature.
Anyway, the young preacher’s teaching was about “fruit” and I was the “fruitcake” for not able to put it all together before that time.
And the message in a nutshell was this… ready?
“It is by their fruit that you shall know them.”
And that can be as profound as you want it to be, or it can be as simple as can be.
“It is by your fruit that we shall know you.”
So true right?
And I have known that seemingly simple yet profound truth for over 10 years now.
For it is not by the color of your skin that we will know who you are.
It is not by your accent or your nationality or your ethnicity or the language you speak or not speak will we know who you really are.
It is not by your height or weight or how you are proportioned that we will know who you are.
It is not by the eloquence of your words that we will know who you are either.
It is not by your educational background will we know who you are.
It is not by your title or the number of letters you write after your name, shall we know who you really are.
It is not by knowing who your parents are, or who your spouse is, or who your relatives and children are, shall we know who you are.
It is not by knowing how much you made or not made last year would we know who you are.
But unmistakably, we will (only) by your fruit.
For we all know that an apple tree shall not bear oranges.
Or that an orange tree would not bear pineapples.
So to know who we really are, we have to look at our fruit.
What is yours? Or do you even have one?
What are the fruits of your teacher, your rabbi, your lama, your priest, your pastor, your minister, your cleric or your spiritual (or your intellectual) leader?
Every good tree shall bear good fruit.
But a bad tree shall bear bad fruit.
Do not be fooled, less you be the fruitcake.
But test and prove all things (until you can recognize) what is good, (to that) hold fast.
Abstain from evil in whatever form or whatever kind it may be.
Hub Number: #005
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