By Their Fruits
Scripture: Luke 13:7-9; John 11:4, 12:28, 15:1-10; 2 Timothy 3:5.
With the year and the decade winding down, it is curious that no one thing in particular stands out enough to give the decade an identifying name. The name for this decade in history is just that, a blank. No one word or phrase, like the Roaring 20’s for example, has yet been agreed on for this decade. Any ideas?
Allison Louie-Garcia spoke to nine-year-old children in a fourth grade class in Orange County, Calif. She asked them to tell her the most significant event that had defined the only decade they had ever known? More than one child replied: “It was when Michael Jackson died.” 1 If it were up to these children to choose a name perhaps the word celebrity should be inserted on the blank line?
Turning to Time magazine to help us out we find hints from their archives. We note that their choice for their 2009 “Person of the Year” is Ben Bernanke, the 56-year-old chairman of the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States. Maybe the words shaky economy should replace the blank. This decade has been a challenge financially for most of us. The United States government has printed and borrowed gazillions of dollars. They have also closed more banks and put tighter restrictions on citizen’s ability to get loans or carry credit card debt. Wall Street and Main Street have been in conflict as citizens have lost their jobs and homes while large bonuses have been paid to many corporate executives. 2
With the foiled Christmas 2009 day attack on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan mirroring the “shoe bombers” attempt a few years back, one might want to fill in the blank with the word terrorism. Or would it be more accurate to simply place the word Al Qaeda there? We saw the Twin Towers fall. We’ve experienced alerts and restrictions at airports. We’ve been horrified by needless school shootings. We’ve see our mothers, fathers, sons and daughters wounded or killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and been helpless to explain how a massacre could occur on one of our own military bases.
ABC News correspondent, Michael S. James questions whether we’ll remember the 2000s as a decade of doom or diversions? In an online piece he quotes Robert Thompson, a professor of media and popular culture at Syracuse University in New York, who, along with others, believes that the past decade may be remembered as the time when major technological and social changes went mainstream and changed the way we live. Thompson observes, "We behave in very different ways each hour of the day in 2009 than in 1999. I think we're going to be referring to this as the digital age," he predicts. The whole notion of texting, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook has all been in the confines of this decade. 3
As we reflect upon our past we also have opportunity to forge ahead with new ideals. For the next 13 weeks in our Bible studies we’ll be examining what Scripture refers to as the Fruit of the Spirit, characteristics that occur when we abide in Jesus and become more like Him. Not perfect. Not holy. Rather a people gifted by the Holy Spirit who exhibit the covering graces of Jesus Christ.
If we were to insert a word in a blank that described a life lived with the character of Christ we’d be hard pressed to choose just one of the following words: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control, righteousness and truth. We may not be able to name a decade but we can resolve to incorporate these positive attributes into our daily life. By so doing we will bear “fruit” in our homes, churches and communities throughout 2010 and the next decade.