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Love and apple butter

Well, it’s another Sunday morning. “My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 24: 13-14 (ESV)

There was a tradition in Hardy, Arkansas, at the Hardy Methodist Church that I hope has continued through this crazy time of COVID. It is an annual fund raiser of apple butter sales. Now, this isn’t just a jar of any old apple butter, this is their recipe that they have used for years. The taste of cinnamon and a hint of clove and fresh apples slowly cooked and prepared with love for all that would be lucky enough to get a jar is really amazing. When you pile a spoon full on top of a well buttered home made biscuit it truly is wonderful and brings a smile on your face.

If a cool crisp sunny fall morning in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, with all the trees lending their color to create a beautiful day could have a taste, it would be something like this apple butter. It tastes like being home with all your loved ones. It takes me back to a simpler time when we shared a meal as well as sharing the love for each other. When breakfast came with biscuits and gravy, fried taters, eggs, sausage and bacon, grits, and some home-made jam or apple butter but mostly it came with a huge scoop of love piled right on top of it. We read this truth about love in 1 John 4:16 (ESV), “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

See, these folks at this church in Hardy, Arkansas, could have taken shortcuts on their apple butter, they didn’t have to put all the effort into it like they did. Here’s the truth about that though, they prepared it as if they were serving it to our LORD. The fact is, if they didn’t do it this way they could have missed the opportunity of a life time if there had been that knock on their door. Revelation 3:20 (ESV) tells us, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” They could have missed the opportunity to share their love of our Lord with others. These folks put their best foot forward and prepared this with that very love of Christ Jesus in mind.

So, let me ask you, do you do everything in a manner that you would be proud to present to Jesus? Do you do your very best all the time and are happy to be serving our LORD? Here’s the tough question, do you cut corners because it’s easier that way and no one will notice? Our great Lord knows everything you do.

Here’s the thing, I can taste the love in this apple butter. Not once did The taste feel like someone would have said, “Oh, I really don’t want to be here doing this” or “I have better things to do than this.” I taste the love they all put into it just like the love God put into the beautiful colors in His magnificent fall painting of trees he presents to us each year. They put their best foot forward. Are you doing the same? We all fall short sometimes. Matthew 6:33 (ESV) tells us to do this, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

We should seek to serve our LORD, to share His great word. We should share the love he has given us, there is plenty of His love to go around to everybody. We can find this truth in 1 John 3:1 (ESV), it tells us this, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Share His love with others this week, don’t hold back. Tell the stocker at the store about God’s love or the guy picking up your trash, or your neighbor. Spread the good word of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. Please always remember this, God truly loves each and every one of you and so do I.

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