A Basketful of Blessings

by Franklin L. Kirksey


Philip Satsuma of Osaka, Japan, is credited with developing the first "satsuma" in 1832. He grafted a branch of a tangerine tree to a mandarin orange tree and used cuttings from a kumquat plant. According to historians the spouse of a member of the U.S. embassy from the Satsuma Province in Kyushu, Japan, brought mikan, also known as satsumas, to the United States in 1876. The first satsuma arrived in Alabama in 1878.

This fruit once grew in abundance in the area formerly known as "Fig Tree Island," on the Pace Orange Orchard. The Satsuma Orange Groves and Pecan Company in the early 1900s distributed this delicious fruit in a town that took the name "Satsuma" in 1915. But after several years of cold weather and citrus canker, the delicate trees almost disappeared from the landscape of Satsuma, Alabama.

Ironically, almost four years after moving from Satsuma, my wife, Sharon, discovered something in the garden Early on December 7, 2006. "Look!" she exclaimed, and pointed out a satsuma tree. This neglected tree was loaded with luscious fruit ready to pick and eat. We quickly picked a basketful of this bounty.

I. Unexpected Blessings

As with many blessings, this one was totally unexpected. This windfall is another illustration of the words of the psalmist who writes, "Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation" (Ps. 68:19).

II. Undeserved Blessings

Also, it was absolutely undeserved. We did not plant the tree, we did not tend the tree, we did not even water the tree, but it yielded its bounty nonetheless. Again, with the psalmist we must confess, "What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?" (Ps. 116:12).

III. Unclaimed Blessings

If Sharon had not used her sharp eye to discover this blessing it would have been regrettably unclaimed. As we ate the cool fruit fresh from the tree, I was reminded of the words of the psalmist, "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefitswho satisfies your mouth with good things" (Ps. 103:1,2,5a).


How many blessings remain un-claimed? Like Ali Hafed in Russell H. Conwell's classic, Acres of Diamonds, many are seeking for blessings all over the world, while failing to look in their own back yard.

It is wonderful to receive the blessings that come from God, the Father, to all. "He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matt. 5:45b). However, the blessing of salvation referred to in Psalm 68:19 is the greatest blessing, bar none. May we exclaim in the words of Psalm 18:46, "The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted." "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16).

Franklin L. Kirksey pastors First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama.

© January 1, 2007 All Rights Reserved. Printed by permission.

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