This story is purported to have come out of the Middle East: Three merchants were crossing the desert, traveling at night to avoid the heat of the day. As they crossed a dry creek bed a loud voice thundered out of the darkness commanding them to stop on the spot. They did and the voice ordered them to get off their camels, then commanded them to stoop down and gather some of the small stones into their pockets. Then they were told to leave and continue until dawn before stopping to make camp. The mysterious voice told them that in the morning they would be both sad and happy. Understandably shaken by the bizarre experience, the merchants traveled on through the rest of the night. When morning dawned they stopped and looked anxiously at the contents of their pockets and indeed were happy and sad because rather than desert stones they found fabulous jewels. Happy for the fortune’s worth they had, yet they felt sadness that they hadn’t gathered even more while they had the opportunity. The fable expresses what it is to glean from the riches of God’s Word. This year we have gathered precious truths for this life and even that which can affect eternity in meditating on the “fruit of the spirit” in Galatians 5. Last month (Oct. 24th) I preached on the last of the nine fruits, but there are three more verses giving us the key to applying the fruit of the spirit. These verses are also appropriate to prepare our hearts for the Lord’s supper.
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