Monday, November 9, 2009

Two Stories: A Life AND Fruit Worth Savoring

The Wedding Day of the daughter of Charley Dodds, "the Tree Man's Number One Climber"

Awhile ago, I attended the wedding of Charley Dodd's daughter. I hate to say this but even more than seeing his daughter tie the knot, it was Charley who captivated my attention. Charley, a thirty-year veteran tree climber in my dad's business, is a man worth savoring. He looked so cool in a blue tux with his long, now graying, hair pulled back in a ponytail and an equally gray but trimmed beard. His eyes still lit up and he had the goofiest grin on his face as he walked his daughter down the aisle. I realized how much I'd missed not seeing Charley around! He'd been around me on and off since high school; this was his daughter's big day; I was so glad to be a part of it! To appreciate Charley's appearance, you'd have to know what a monkey he was in the many years past - swinging and carrying on like a crazy guy in the tops of trees, on a lakebank, on the ground, or in the barn fixing a truck - always telling his own stories. Seeing him at the wedding in clean clothes but with the same cocky grin on his face reminded me that Charley had remained true to himself; nothing had changed. Life was always something Charley would savor!

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Chocolate Water Folly
A Devotional

I am the vine; you are the branches; if a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing...I chose you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last. John 15: 5, 16.

The chocolate waterfall graced the table near the punch bowl at a wedding I recently attended.

Thick luscious chocolate flowed down the four-tiered fountain. I had never seen a chocolate "fountain" fondue and it fascinated me. Long slender skewers lay next to the fruit, inviting guests to spear tidbits of fruit.

When I attempted to skewer more than one piece of fruit, they wobbled on the stick so I settled on a single pineapple chunk. I anticipated the taste of the chocolate encompassing my sweet pineapple. Finally, the moment arrived; I lifted it up to my lips. The hardened chocolate tasted oh so sweet over the still juicy pineapple.

I sprinted back to the chocolate fondue where I selected four more pieces of fruit and on the sput-of-the-moment, a marshmallow. Determined to get the most I could on the stick, I strung them tightly together. I held the fruit right under the geyser at the top tier. Covering the marshmallow turned out to be trickier when it fell off my skewer. I tried to re-string it, then poked it in the fountain wherever I could get it in, but the chocolate didn’t harden. I scurried off toward my table, embarrassed.

After I sat down, people began to tease me. My plate had filled up with a river of chocolate, running off that lone marshmallow. The smooth sweet chocolate formed a hard shell around my fruit but the chocolate covering my marshmallow never hardened.

Upon reflection, I realized that when I seek a relationship with God through His Word, the Holy Spirit and prayer, and DO the will of my Father, I become like that strong, hardened chocolate, sealing in a rich center for others to savor — the succulent fruit of my life.

But when I exist with the Word flowing over and around me, but do nothing to attach it to my heart or bring it to life through my actions, it refuses to harden and so much spillage befalls me. Instead of the living stream God intends, it masses at the base of my life-plate, as the chocolate water “folly” did mine at the wedding reception.

I want to draw near Him and become that firm chocolate coating that flavors the fruit I bear to the world.

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