Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
ďCome back tomorrow and Iíll give it to youĒó
when you already have it with you. Ė Proverbs 3:27-28
Then Peter said, ďSilver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.Ē Ė Acts 3:6
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galations 5:22-23a
Power is an ever present goal in our society, whether that be power through monetary means, through positions worked towards through the cooperate ladder, or through politics, the end goal is improve our amount of power within our society. Everyone wants to earn their own way to some of the power shared and distributed in such a way that it could be compared to the behavior exhibited by the hilarious antics of seagulls. Viciously they grab at anything that is within their line of sight, reaching sometimes into each others stash of fairly gained food within the beaks and always picking on or shoving away the little birds, taking any opportunity thrown to them to eat which is sometimes at their own risk. Most of you can picture the games we have all played with seagulls at least at one point or another, watching their desperate scramble for food. Ever notice how we as civilized human beings reach to gain as much power through the same, but maybe a little more rational, strategies? No not really eh? Maybe if you picture the way normal people get agitated and roused whenever a firm position of theirs is questioned in any matter, immediately people get defensive and their whole behavior changes picking at weak spots in their opponents and refusing to give up, quite often in purposefully mean spirited and hurtful. Anyone who has participated or even just observed a debate in politics, on homosexuality or on the often assumed obvious answer of the creationism versus evolutionism debate would be able to picture what I mean. People pick and grab at whatever kind of power they can hold on to and then work their hardest to maintain it in a world of continuously shifting and allusive power, whatever sphere you are active in. Itís a desperate struggle for power, even for those who seem to have all the power they can handle, they strive for more and the fear of losing it destroys them in usual circumstances. It is amazing what a intangible force and such undefined and morphing idea like power can effect and change in people, created originally for good.
But surely, as Christians, we are different right? We are not scavengers, aiming for garbage and mints manipulated to explode in your throat; obviously we know better right? We should, the Bible clearly lays down the guidelines for following the Spirit, which God Himself gave us. Our eyes should no even be on earthly power but in heavenly power and the grand, holy, amazing hand of Lord our God. Earthly powers have absolutely no chance against the power of God, with trust God can give any power or provide us with any need we ask Him for. Still, as humans, we are driven towards the desire to compete against others in rationalized schemes to push us ahead and shove others behind. It is difficult to give up the power we have, whether that be through material things, money, position in school boards or in the office to have our own opinions heard over others or over our subordinates and clients. We too are fallen creations. Even those Christians with power love the idea of keeping it, ignorant of or persistently keeping the tiniest grudge to those above us and behaving subliminally paternal to those below us. But the truth is, hard as it is to follow, we are all equal in Godís eyes and we know that, it is a fact for Christians. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and those not believers, are no less worthy than any other to have the chance to accept the fruits of the Spirit. We are to show true love, peace, joy, patience, self-control, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness to everyone, with no thought to their status in social ladder, their sinful habits, their faith background, their skills, their abilities, their influence in society or their possessions. Moreover, we are not to make the mistake of assuming the poor needing primarily food and clothing; the weak needing patient and overbearing strategies to restore them to their place in society, and the rich and powerful needing patience in their research and decision making, faithfulness to their policies or peace in trusting their decisions. Every individual needs them all in different degrees and in different ways but every group needs them all equally, they are all yearning for them. And Christ has given us all the power to provide them with the benefits of the Spirit in such a unique and influential capacity, so much so that it changes lives everyday despite the length of time.
But is that all we should use to bless people, the nine specific fruits of the Spirit, each given out individually and in conscious acts? No, not at all, a holistic approach, as with everything, should be taken into consideration. These fruits can be combined wonderfully with the gifts and blessings God has given us in terms of worldly measures to create amazing results without us even being aware what each hand is responsible for and has completed for Godís plan. Patience and joy while learning in a learning establishment about an issue, sociological concern, psychological problems, environmental or scientific discoveries, or medical ailments, combined with the power to push for solutions and to aid people personally in their desperate or even just a point of weakness through monetary means and the accumulated knowledge. Done with gentleness, joy, faithfulness and the rest of the fruits of the Spirit, these deeds can do wonders for Godís kingdom in one single person or group, while being a witness to them and the rest of the world by giving all the credit and inspiration to Lord our God. Giving our wealth out of guilt or just because someone on the street asked for money for a train ticket, is not doing Godís kingdom, or perhaps not even the person, any good. But if the power of love, patience, goodness, joy and kindness is used along with Godís wonderful blessings of wealth, material security, knowledge and wisdom, one might discern to stopping and talking to the person on the street, buying them lunch, sitting down with for a while, listening to their story; and then perhaps if one felt it was what they needed, give them some money. One would be sharing graciously more than just the power many feel they have earned on their own; one would be sharing some of Godís wondrous and awesome power, grace and love. God meant for us to share our power, earthly powers and spiritual, whatever you do in life, this means you must find out what this means for you; not everyone is meant to minister to the poor or those on the street, though many are meant to spread the wealth within their community, but everyone is meant to share their power from the Spirit in ways drawn out by Godís Will, displayed in our skills, talents, abilities and God-inspired desires. May God bless you as you discern the strengths God has given you and which neighbors are calling out for their share of Godís goodness you possess and are meant to share.