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Late Bloomers! (09.22.05--Grace Walks!--Psalm 93:5)

Fairness is a doctrine that we have gone hog-wild with. We seem as a people possessed by a sense of “all things being equal.” Unfortunately, we are so captivated by a sense of justice at all costs, we often lose sight of the fact that a doctrine of fairness is itself subject to inequities by the very nature of the fact that it is only as perfect as those who conceive of it. Last time I looked, perfection was a bit hard to find, in a legislative seat or a judicial bench.

The Bible, on the other hand, tells us that God is perfectly just; that He is “adorned” in holiness and His perfection is complete (Psalm 93:5). The standard for perfection here is very clear. Since God is perfect, His holiness is perfect. And, therefore, His justice is without question--perfect. Why is it then that God gives some to be righteous throughout their lives while others, ignorant of or even defiant of God, are given to righteousness only in the latter part of their lives?

A man once bought a home with a tree in the backyard. It was winter, and nothing marked this tree as different from any other tree. When spring came, the tree grew leaves and tiny pink buds. “How wonderful,” thought the man. “A flower tree! I will enjoy its beauty all summer.” But before he had time to enjoy the flowers, the wind began to blow and soon all the petals were strewn in the yard. “What a mess,” he thought. “This tree isn’t any use after all.” The summer passed, and one day the man noticed the tree was full of green fruit the size of large nuts. He picked one and took a bite. “Bleagh!” he cried and threw it to the ground. “What a horrible taste! This tree is worthless. Its flowers are so fragile the wind blows them away, and its fruit is terrible and bitter. When winter comes, I’m cutting it down. But the tree took no notice of the man and continued to draw water from the ground and warmth from the sun and in late fall produced crisp red apples. Some of us see Christians with their early blossoms of happiness and think they should be that way forever. Or we see bitterness in their lives, and we’re sure they will never bear the better fruit of joy. Could it be that we forget some of the best fruit ripens late? (Misty Mowrey.)

It is hard as Christians to understand sometimes why God gives some to walk the narrow road of righteousness from youth on and others only find the path much later in life. From a standard of earthly “fairness” this may not seem all that just. Why should someone who has borne no fruit of holiness in their early lives receive the same grace that someone who has borne much fruit for many years? Perhaps, just as in nature God gives all creation a time in which to blossom and fruit, He has also done so for us. Ultimately it is not when the fruit is ripe but simply that it is harvested.

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