Charles Whatley: April 6, 2019
Published 1:46 pm Sunday, April 7, 2019
Norway was the happiest place on Earth, according to a United Nations agency report. The “World Happiness Report” measures “subjective well-being,” asking how happy the people are, and why. Now, according to CNBC, Finland has taken first place and Norway is second; America is 18th.
Minnesota (too cold for me!) is the happiest state in America, according to the Huffington Post. And if you thought Disney was the happiest place, think again. It seems, according to wdwinfo.com (Walt Disney World Info), that many of the guests are grumpy. We took our grandsons to Disney World in Orlando last year and I was a bit grumpy several months before we went when I looked up the ticket prices!
“ Sing to the LORD, all the world!  Worship the LORD with joy; come before him with happy songs!  Acknowledge that the LORD is God. He made us, and we belong to him; we are his people, we are his flock.  Enter the Temple gates with thanksgiving; go into its courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise him.  The LORD is good; his love is eternal and his faithfulness lasts forever.” (Psalm 100)
There are nine fruits of the Spirit and most people cannot name them all; but most people can name the first three … love, joy, and peace. Maybe you’ll remember the final six as patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
It has always puzzled me that when Spirit-filled Christians want to “prove” they or someone else is Spirit-filled, they talk about the gifts of the Spirit. I wonder why they don’t talk about the fruits of the Spirit. If I want to know what kind of tree I see, I look at the fruit. If I see an apple, I know it’s an apple tree. If I see a pear (I love pears!), I know it’s a pear tree. And so on …
If I see “love, joy, peace” and the other six fruits of the Spirit, I know a Christian is Spirit-filled. Maybe we talk about the gifts because they are more easily faked? If I tell you I have the gift of tongues or healing or discernment, how would you know if I do or I don’t? Very few people walk around speaking in tongues and healing and discerning. But you’ll quickly know if I’m loving and joyful and peaceful. And you’ll quickly know if I’m none of those things.
Imagine a church and a community filled with loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled people … it’d be a taste of heaven!
Charles “Buddy” Whatley is a retired United Methodist pastor serving Woodland & Bold Springs UMC and, with Mary Ella, a missionary to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.