Updated: Oct 31, 2020

My sweet hubby and I went blackberry picking by the side of the road yesterday. We planned to have sugared berries on top of our cheesecake for dessert after dinner. What pleasure it was to see the dark ripe berries! I had my glove on my left hand (to hold the branches to the side while I picked the berries nearby), my gallon ziploc bag (shooting big - I wanted to fill it to the brim!), and my sweatshirt pulled down over my arms to try and avoid the inevitable mosquito bites. Berries are so worth the trouble!

As I walked along picking the ripe berries and avoiding the dead or not yet ripe berries, I thought about how these berries were a metaphor for me. We all have a gift that God has graciously bestowed on each of us. Each gift is uniquely different from someone else's gift - and there is beauty and strength in that.

The delicious looking dark purple berries were ripe for the picking; as are our gifts that we acknowledge, hone, and are ready to use. They are irresistible to others. We all want to learn from and experience someone who has their gift at the ready for us.

But then there are those of us who are not quite ready to give our gift to the world; and that is okay! These were the red berries I saw - and avoided picking. They would not be flavorful enough for the dessert I was planning. As with these red berries, our gift takes time to become our own and to know exactly how to use is and for whom to use it. We gather experience, knowledge, and practice as we work to hone our gift so that, in time, we will

be one of the dark purple berries ready to pick - giving our gift to someone in need.

I was saddened as I passed by a group of obviously dead berries. They died on the vine, never able to fully give their gift of flavor. Perhaps the juice never developed, or the right person didn't stop by to pick it when it was ripe. Whatever the reason, this too can be symbolic of our gift. The first step to to recognize the talent, ability, words, or creativity that God gave us. It is up to us to refine that gift and make it ready for others. Sadly, these dead berries didn't get that chance.

I also saw two types of berry bushes intertwined, right next to each other. One was the blackberries I wanted, but the other was unknown to me. Beautiful in it's own right, but not meant for eating. Those white berries were meant for something else. Maybe just to be picked and put in a vase on my coffee table? In any case, we don't want to use our gift in a way that it was never meant to be used!

Our gifts have a purpose. We are not meant to compare our berries (gifts) with someone else's. We may be in a different season than they are; and all berries ripen at different times. Be careful not to be envious when you see someone using a gift that is similar to yours; or wishing you had a gift that was not given to you!

What is your gift? Do you know? If you do know what your gift is, be sure you are in the process of growing it and making it ready for someone to be able to use it when the time is right. If you don't know your gift, may I suggest you ask God what it is that he gave you to use for his glory? Listen closely, as in my experience God usually whispers to me in a quiet voice. Next, test your answers out with a few trusted friends. You will be surprised at what others may see in you that you either take for granted or didn't see.

Here's to each of us with our unique gifting! I'd love to hear what your gift is in the comments.

Let's be like the berries and be ready to ripen at our appointed time.

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