“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do people get bunches of grapes from thorny weeds, or do they get figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit. And a rotten tree can’t produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, you will know them by their fruit” (Matthew 7:15-20, Common English Bible).
When I was a kid my dad had a couple of pecan trees that grew in our backyard.`My dad loved those trees and he worked hard at keeping them healthy. It seems, at least in my memory that he was always spraying those trees to get the web worms out. They always seemed to be invading his pecan trees. But, when those trees started producing pecans, they were really, really good nuts (I also remember that my dad knew how much work they were. When we moved into a different house, he never again had a pecan tree in the yard). I don’t remember ever eating a pecan from those trees that didn’t taste good.
At some point in my past, I can’t really remember when, I was also in the vicinity of another pecan tree, very different from either of my dad’s pecan trees. Every nut I ever tried from that tree was horribly bitter. They just didn’t taste good at all. I don’t think that tree was capable of producing a good pecan. Other trees around that one produced good pecans, but everything from that tree was bad.
When I read our lesson for today I think back on those pecan trees. Two of the trees produced nothing but a good crop. That other tree, however, was incapable of producing a pecan anyone would want to put in their mouth.
I don’t know enough about pecans and pecan trees to know whether or not a pecan from that awful tree would produce a tree that had good pecans or not. If it would there might have been a reason to keep it growing. But if a bad pecan produced trees that produced bad pecans, you might as well cut it down. All that tree did was take up space.
Jesus uses the analogy of fruit and fruit trees to point to us and how we produce fruit. He says, in essence, good folks produce good folks. Bad people produce bad people. But, as I think about it, all of us are sinners who fall short of the glory of God. That means we are all bad people. The big difference between us and that bad pecan tree is, God will change us. Through God’s grace we can find forgiveness and find our direction through the power of the Holy Spirit. The tree will continue to produce bad pecans. God can change us, to produce good fruit. That my friends, is good news for all of us!
What kind of fruit do you produce?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved