Today: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

He say 'yes!'    (10/14/2007)

“The man from del Monte, he say ‘yes,' ” apparently. It's a great slogan, isn't it? And, combined with all those sunny images, it certainly made me want to drink fruit juice. It's a good advert, because it manages to convey not only that del Monte will only accept the best, but it also has the positive tone of that most powerful of all words, ‘yes'.

The power of ‘yes' shouldn't be underestimated! Yes means acceptance, it means permission; it opens doors, it bring opportunities and new possibilities, it crosses barriers and it starts friendships. Yes is a wonderful word.

But ‘no' is a powerful word, too. No cuts across plans and hopes. It frustrates ambition, denies imagination, and shuts down creativity. It's an essential word, but a powerful and a hard one.

Part of me always wants to ask, “But what about the people that del Monte says no to?” They can't say yes to everyone, and I can't help but think of the broken-hearted growers who can't sell their crops. The power of this image stained my imagination every time I saw this del Monte advert.

When it comes to God, most of us start out with a dreadful fear of a divine ‘no' pronounced over us. We know that the fruit of our lives doesn't live up to God's standards, and we fear he would not approve of us. For some, that spurs them on to try harder; for others, it drives them away, and for others it is yet another reason to reject the whole notion of God's existence or relevance.

However, there's a remarkable verse in the Bible (one of my favourites!)—2 Corinthians (NT), chapter 1, verse 20, which says “No matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘yes' in Christ.” I love this verse, because it summarises the most wonderful news of all time.

The truth is that my life does deserve a divine ‘no'; the fruit that I have grown in my life is not of del Monte standard… but that's not how God wants to judge my life. He loves to say ‘yes' to his children; to see us grow and thrive, and see us become all that we can be. He just loves to say ‘yes'.

And so he set up the greatest exchange of all time. When Jesus went to the cross, he took the rubbish fruit of our lives with him, and he offers in exchange the fruit of his perfection. And there is no fruit in the universe better than that!

There will come a day when we stand waiting for our fruit to be judged. The rewards for good fruit are nothing less than peace for all eternity. On that day, it won't be the man from del Monte who matters; God longs to say ‘yes' to you. The question is whether you'll say ‘yes' to him —as he offers the perfect fruit of his life. And then, will you let him teach you to grow it with him, for yourself and others?

Pray: Father, you want to say 'yes' to all your children; all we have to do is say 'yes' back to you. Thanks for Jesus - through him, no one's a second-class citizen, or an unacceptable orange. Through him I can be acceptable to you. Amen

Think: Read Jesus' short parable in Luke (NT), chapter 7, verses 40-43. What do you think Jesus is saying to us? How does this relate to the article above, about the acceptibility, or otherwise, of fruits?

Challenge: We all have at least one person we struggle with and, in some way, reject. Maybe we find them arrogant, boring, annoying? Have they hurt us in the past? Do we look down them? Compare how much you think God loves you with how much you think he loves them. Pick one such person this week and work on the way you behave towards them. If we want God, who is perfect, to accept us, how much more should we, who are imperfect, accept other imperfect people?

Watch the video clip The Good-o-Meter (Nothing we do ourselves can save us)

Watch a video clip and get a conversation going with God

Read the book Falling for God: Saying Yes to His Extravagant Proposal by Gary Moon

Read the book Living a Purpose-Full Life: What Happens When You Say Yes to God by Jan Johnson

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