This fall I traveled with my family to Ireland. One word: amazing.
I love hiking and being outdoors, so this was the perfect location for some beautiful walks. One day early on in our journey we set out on what we believed would be a 6 mile hike to a boat dock. We would then catch a little ferry back to our starting location and snag some lunch. Only problem, around mile 6 it became clear that we still had quite a ways to go. We were nearing 1pm and by this point my oatmeal and granola bars were a distant memory. I was approaching hangry status. (Anger fueled by hunger. Can anyone relate?)
That’s when we saw the berries.
Although I was raised in Texas, I have zero memories of picking my own fruit. We lived in the suburbs. I know of farms you can visit and pick your own berries, but I’ve never been to one.
It took some convincing to get me to reach my hand into the bushes and snag my first blackberry. I was concerned about dust and bees and thorns and poison… you know, the usual. But I finally just reached into the brambles and pulled out a dark juicy one. SO GOOD.
There’s something about reaching out and grabbing that fruit, even if there’s a possibility for a scratch or sting. It just tastes sweeter when I pick my own berries.
Ready for the metaphor?
Check out the quote by Spurgeon.
“We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord. . . .” - Charles H. Spurgeon
Big vocabulary words, but the point Spurgeon is making is timeless.
Intimacy with the Lord is sweeter when we dig into the Word with our own eyes. Sermons, books, blog posts, podcasts, youth group, Bible study… all of these are great ways to mature and grow in our walk of faith. But are we letting ourselves be “raised” by the books we read and the studies we attend rather than carving out our own time to read and enjoy?
Remember: there is no substitute for a hand-picked blackberries.