In seminary, my wife and I purchased a juicer. It was our half-hearted attempt to become healthier. She was training for a half-marathon and I was convinced that juicing would help me look a bit more like “The Rock,” but without all those pesky five-a.m. workouts and school full of cod everyday. (seriously, have you seen what this guy eats daily?)
Yeah, sure I could go that whole “fitness is a lifestyle” route or I could just get that way by juicing. While devouring entire walls of theological tomes in the library I could simultaneously be smashing down some delicious strawberry-carrot-grapefruit-spinach-broccoli juice at the same time. Growing brain, shrinking waist. Now that’s what I call a win-win!
And so we juiced. We experimented with a variety of fruits and veggies. A few times we even went all out and used the pulp to make a fruit or veggie bread. My glistening and rock hard abs would be perfect for those days when the washing machine was broken.
What honey, the washing machine is broken? That’s fine. I’ve juiced today. I’ll just take my shirt off and you can feel free to wash the clothes on my washboard abs.
We spent a couple of years juicing, and while I never attained anything close to The Rock’s physique, I did learn a few surprising things about juicing:
Shocking right? The fruit (or vegetable) you throw into the juicer comes out the same thing, only in juice form. Which shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did with ginger. See, eating some ginger just ’cause, tastes pretty gross; so why I ever thought it would be a delicious addition to my juicing regimen is beyond me. Juiced ginger is just as gross as the regular stuff.
We quickly learned what pairs well together (strawberry+kiwi+carrot) and what didn’t (ginger+anything).
What we put in, we got out.
This whole juicing phase brings about an interesting insight into our own lives. I was having a conversation with my wife recently and made a comment about, “They want to see what we’re made of.” It’s a question much like juice: when we are squeezed and put into a trial, what comes out?
In the face of difficulty and adversity, what are you made of?
There are those (we know them, and it’s never us, is it….) who talk about their ability to lead, cast vision, inspire, or change and yet when faced with a difficult task turn negative, blame others, and turn sour. In short, when they are ‘juiced’ we don’t get what we expect. A sweet smelling strawberry goes in, but something much more nasty and sinister comes out.
And then there are those who are the opposite. When under trial or duress, they reveal themselves exactly as they said they were. When facing hardship and difficulty, they are loving, kind, generous, humble, and committed to themselves, the process, and those they are working with. When faced with a difficult task these people are positive, upbeat, and joyful.
When you’re perplexed, crushed, and juiced, what comes out? When people see you struggling and facing hardship, what do they see about your true personality. Are you really as loving, kind generous, and faithful as you proclaimed in the easy times, or are you angry, bitter, and crude?
We Christians are a group claiming to be based on love. We love God and we love others (Mark 12). We are known by our love (John 15). We love because God first loved us (1 John 4).
All too often, however, we don’t present this. From political discussions to the latest hashtag controversy, we are quick to cry foul and raise dissent. When faced with an opportunity to love, we instead offer biting criticism and antagonism. When we are ‘juiced’ and have a chance to prove what we are really made of what comes out isn’t good. What often goes in smelling like a sweet strawberry comes out smelling like a dirty diaper.
We are present every day with a chance to live, act, and serve like Christ. May we, when pressed and juiced, respond like he did with love.
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