Clementines are Tasty. And Safe.
When I drove home from work the other night the woman in the car behind me committed an act of boldness as we made our way through the going-home traffic.
She ate an orange.
I watched in my rear-view mirror as she peeled it, balancing the orange against the steering wheel while we waited at a red light. I could see her print blouse and dark blazer, her earrings flashing in the afternoon light, her hair, carefully coiffed.
Her bravery captivated me. She skinned that orange, broke it into sections, and ate it, one juicy section at a time, as she drove. I watched her progress as the traffic lights brought us to a halt again.
I don’t eat oranges anymore. I can’t remember when I gave them up, but I did. They’re messy. They squirt juice all over, leaving my hands sticky and my blouse spotted. I’d given up citrus all together, in fact, until our grocer reintroduced me to tangerines a while back.
Watching this woman eat her orange made me realize I’ve become a coward. Or at least, I’ve become risk averse. I traded the exuberant,exploding sweetness of an orange for clean fingers and a spotless blouse. What was I thinking?
The truth is I can’t avoid messes by giving up fruit. My hands still get dirty. I still find spots on my clothes. That dirt is easy to handle. A little soap and some hot water, and everything is as it should be.
So why am I afraid of a little mess? The big mess, the mess that matters, has already been cleaned up. I couldn’t do it on my own, no matter how harsh the soap or how scalding the water. Nothing I did could undo those stains. But my Savior, well, He took care of it for me.
I could be bolder in life. I could speak up and share His love. I could stop and minister to the crying stranger on the street. I could open my heart wider for Him. A lot wider.
I’ll start with an orange. And see if I can’t unwrap my Gospel-driven boldness while I’m at it.
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
Mark 16:15 (NASB)