Oranges

One of the purposes I have in writing this blog is to encourage Christ-followers to engage in the Spirit-filled life. Not only on Sundays. Not only during Bible studies or worship nights. Rather, to experience His presence every day as we ready ourselves to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to us. God is always speaking… but are we hungry enough to hear and not distracted enough to listen?

I wanted to share with you a story that took place on Sunday. My parents had just come over to my home for a visit, and my Dad started to help me fix things around the house. My dad – Being the engineer that he is (which I am clearly not!), he can easily fix problems that I might deem frustratingly ‘impossible’ to me. He also gave me an electric lawn mower a neighbor of his gave him. My current lawnmower wasn’t cutting it (you see what I did there?). My dad and I were in my front yard, testing out the new lawnmower, when this story unfolded.

A neighbor in the adjacent apartment complex had just parked her car and was talking on the phone to her friend. I did not know her, but I had a strong suspicion that she had an issue with me. Now, let me give you a little background here – A few months ago, my wife and I received notices on our vehicles asking if we would not park on the street anymore. The person who wrote these notices mentioned that they lived in the apartment complex nearby on our street and that she was a single mother who had been in 2 car accidents. She went on to say that she wanted to park where I park on the street because she had had problems parking farther away (she had been harassed and had her car broken into). I, too, would like to park in front of my house (I do not have a car driveway). But, out of respect for this anonymous neighbor who gave us multiple notices, we decided to park one of our vehicles on the other side of the street in a driveway of one of the houses that the church owns – All that to say, I had seen this particular woman walk by a few times before and never acknowledging me – not even glance in my direction. So, here I am, mowing the front lawn, when I notice her. Now, this is where it gets crazy. As I am halfway completed with mowing the lawn, I had a strong impression that suddenly came to me:

“Go give her some oranges.”

That’s it. Talk about random! I quickly remembered that I have a ton of oranges on my tree in the front yard. Thankfully, I didn’t hesitate as I walked over to her, politely interrupted her phone conversation, and ask her if she’d like some oranges.

As she realizes I am conversing with her, she puts her friend on hold and seemed taken aback that I am offering her these oranges, let alone talking with her. She struggles to know what to say and, eventually, accepts my invitation to take the oranges.

I went to get a plastic bag from my house to put the oranges in and, when I got back to where she stood, she was off her phone. I begin plucking the oranges from my tree and putting them in the bag as she neared my fence. This is where it gets even better. She promptly, and unintentionally, began confessing how she had been ‘giving me the stink eye.’ I simply listened I could see a look of shock, as well as gratitude, on her face. Alisha[1] explained how she’s had difficulty with another neighbor, regarding parking problems, and she had allowed her frustration to come upon me. Since she was in a bewildered state, she disclosed how her neighbors don’t talk to her, although she is a naturally social person, she explained. After a few more instances of spontaneous confession, I give her the bag of oranges and gracious said, “I believe in the power of forgiveness because of what Jesus did, so you do not have to worry about it.” We end with a side hug and she went into her apartment.

God is so good!

Here’s are two lessons I gleaned out from this wonderful story, so you can better apply these points in your journey in the Spirit-led life.

  • God Can Use ANYTHING ANYWHERE

Isn’t that incredible? That the Holy Spirit would bring a prompt of how to reveal the love of Christ through something as simple, and as odd, as giving away oranges? We can use all things for the glory of God!

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16

Living a life for Christ is not only saying no to the flesh and worldly influences but looking for opportunities to share the love of Christ – both in words and in deeds. It’s important to know that the Holy Spirit is with us at all times so He can and is willing to reveal Himself, through you, in the midst of your normal routine. He can, and will, point others to Christ in the areas you may not naturally think… the grocery store, in the break room at work, in a drive-thru. He can, and will, demonstrate the goodness of God by offering someone a free coffee, listening through a difficult conversation, or giving someone a place to stay for the night. Who knows? Well, God does and, if we are willing, He can use it!

  • It’s the Kindness of God

 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” – Romans 2:4 (NLT)

This verse reminds us that we shouldn’t judge others because we ourselves have done many of the same things. Instead, God has been patient and kind with us and so we should have that same attitude with others.

I admit… this isn’t always easy. That’s how I know this was a divine opportunity for me to participate in because my flesh would naturally want to avoid and remain distant. Yet there’s a key principle in this verse that helps us walk in the Spirit. “His (God’s) kindness is intended to turn you from your sin.” The NIV states, “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” It was inspiring to see Alisha[1] pour out her heart and be repentant for her attitude. This was because of my response to demonstrate the Lord’s kindness as it broke through previous misconceptions. Now she doesn’t have to hold onto her anger anymore. We can be in a position to demonstrate the kindness of God so others can know that He is God.

My purpose for this story was not only to inspire you but to encourage you to participate with the Holy Spirit, so you, too, can have your own God stories! For this week, look for those opportunities in the places that you normally go to and be present with the Lord. Then ask the Holy Spirit to make known to you the ways you can be faithful to let others know who Jesus is. I’d love to hear your stories in the following week, so I’ll be praying for you as you listen and move as the Spirit leads you!

Have a blessed week!


[1] Not her real name to protect her identity

14 Comments

      1. Wow that’s an eye opening, God always uses His vessels but through different channels, this has really given me much insight on the Overwhelming-neverending precious love of God, thanks a lot for the eye opening Pastor Nathan with the blessings of God. Amen!

        1. Author

          Yes, God wants to use His vessels for His purposes if we are willing to be open to the Spirit’s leading! Thanks for sharing George.

  1. So good! I love that you were in the middle of mowing your lawn and God prompted you to stop what you were doing and follow His leading… A good reminder that no matter how busy *WE THINK* we are, God’s agenda is greater than our to-do lists.

    Also an encouragement that how others make us feel is not always the intention of their heart.

    Thanks for sharing Nathan!

    1. Author

      Thank you for the encouragement Haley! Yes, we have to pay attention to the Lord’s leading even in the midst of our busy lives because God wants to reach those people too! As you mentioned, ‘God’s agenda is greater than our to-do lists.’ Love it!

  2. I like sharing with the down trodden. They have many problems and the attitudes of most non Christians is to avoid them and judge them. All of us are a disaster away from being homeless.
    I always say hi, to everyone for that matter.
    The smallest gift goes a long way , even a simple acknowledgement of another human.
    Pastor that anecdote made me feel really good and that on occasion the Holy Spirit motivates me and makes his presence known to me through that simple act.

    1. Author

      Good point Phil. It’s simple acts that can often make the biggest impact toward others. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Such a kind jester, both moving your car because of her limitations and offering the fruit of kindness. We have no idea what others are facing and many are good at masking their emotions that it’s easy to believe nothing’s wrong. It is when we let go and let God we can finally get over our ego and out of the box that separates us. It is in expressing joy, sadness, hope and worry that we get to use our facial muscles and teach the next generation that emotions should not be suppressed but expressed. It is in our expression the world gets to see our true self. We all have good days and bad days but without the opportunity to experss them the world becomes one long day and hope, joy and love dwindle down leaving us an empty shell. A simple gesture such as a bag of orange’s can break the ice and warm the hearts of others. Thanks for the message.

    1. Author

      Well said Toni. It is easier to get frustrated and focus on how that person has mistreated us rather than trying to be kind to them. Remembering that they are probably facing some type of difficulty is hard, but necessary since it helps put ourselves in their shoes.

  4. I love this! What a sweet (no pun intended) reminder to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. And the power of kindness. Also, a great reminder that everyone is going through something, and not to make assumptions. What a blessing to be used by God in what appeared to be a seemingly small way, that actually had a huge impact.

  5. Such a profound and enlightening lesson, obedience is key, hunger for and attentiveness to the Holy Spirit a must. I am inspired to participate with the Holy Spirit.
    Thank you.

    1. Author

      Amen Shiela! I’m so glad that it inspired you in your walk with the Holy Spirit. Have a blessed day!

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