‘A healthy tree bears good fruit, but a poor tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a poor tree cannot bear good fruit. And any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire. So then, you will know the false prophets by what they do.’ (verses 17-20)
Read Matthew 7:13-21
Ever had one of those trees that’s grown from a seed in the droppings of a bird whose navigation system went wonky and steered it over your yard right at the time it needed to relieve itself. The tree’s always ugly and grows in the same mucky way it started – branches twisted, straggly bits shooting off in all directions. It climbs into your most loved most beautiful trees, strangling them. And when you try to cut it down, it attacks you too – stabbing you with prickles, tangling your ankle, then pushing your ladder backwards!
Jesus wants you to be a ‘good tree’, producing ‘good fruit’. That means being kind and generous, patient, forgiving, friendly when you don’t feel like it, reaching out to those no-one else cares about. But it’s hard, especially when you look around you and see the ‘bad trees’ seeming to flourish. Crooks and cheats get ahead. Selfish greedy people live in comfort and ease. They seem to be the ones who reach the top and take over everything.
Maybe you’ve even felt tempted to give up and live that way too. Don’t. Jesus says a bad tree ‘is cut down and thrown in the fire’. Instead, follow Jesus, and you will ‘produce good fruit’, bringing joy to those around you, and to Jesus. Forever. (And you’ll enjoy it too!)
Jesus, sometimes it’s really hard to live as you want. I can’t do it without your strength and encouragement. Help me to produce good fruit for you. Amen.
From “Direction for each day” (LCA, Openbook Publishers, 2006)
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