The fence in our backyard boasts a pretty wicked grapevine.
We planted it at least 6 years ago and it has matured beautifully. So much so that in recent years I have begun to can grape jam from its fruit.
The development we live in abuts an apartment complex and our backyard has a fence that separates us from the apartments. The grapes grow over the fence and we actually have to drive over to the apartments to collect the clusters that grow on the other side.
Today I was grilling in the backyard and stepped inside to get some things ready at the sink. While there, I looked up and through my kitchen window saw a man and a little girl looking at our grapes. Next, I see the man and the little girl picking off of the grapes. Finally I see them get what looked like a cluster of grapes and walk off with them--smiling!!! I was not smiling.
'How dare they take something that doesn't belong to them', I thought. 'Not to mention, what's up with that father (I assumed) teaching his daughter to steal from others!' Although I was fuming, I was not brazen enough to walk over to the fence and give them a piece of my mind. After all, that wouldn't be very Christ-like.
Then my mind began to settle. I remembered a sermon that I heard recently speaking of the struggle we go through to put off our flesh and put on the Holy Spirit. My flesh was all about "They are taking my grapes!" But really this was an opportunity to be Jesus to two individuals.
Rethinking my approach to the situation, I knew what I had to do. I went downstairs and got a jar of grape jam from last year. The duo was out of sight for now, but if they returned I had my dialogue all planned out.
"I see that you like our grapes. Please have a jar of grape jam from last year's harvest."