Producing Good Fruit
Share This Devotional
For most of my father’s career in ministry, which spanned over four decades, my mother could be counted on to supply his administrative team and close associates with an assortment of baked goods, pies, and jams at those special times of the year. The interesting thing about her offerings was that they were largely locally sourced from her own fruit trees, bushes, and vines. Regardless of where we lived, the quarter-acre lot in the middle of suburbia, or the eleven-acre farm they eventually graduated to when I was 16, my mother maintained an impressive small-scale operation. Peaches, apples, pears, blueberries, and grapes were mainstays over the years.
My mother loved every version of her orchards. She would spend hours and hours planting, fertilizing, nurturing, de-bugging, and eventually harvesting. It was common every July and August to have the kitchen floor covered almost wall-to-wall with peaches, apples, and pears freshly picked from the trees. Her canning of preserves and jams seemed to last for weeks and as a young boy and eventually a teenager I’d look around at the chaos and wonder, “why does she do this to herself? It’s not the Depression Era. This is not our sustenance or a source of needed income.” As an adult, I realize she did it because she loved to do it, and she loved to share it with others.
Every season or so, there would be an underperforming tree or bush or vine. It was never an easy decision for my mother to pull the trigger on removing any plant she had poured herself into over the years, but she did what she had to do. Any fruit producer not doing its job had to be removed and replaced. After all, isn’t the reasonable expectation of a fruit tree to produce its fruit in its season? It sounds almost biblical.
In Matthew chapter 3, John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus, is preparing the way for Christ’s ministry by preaching the need for repentance and baptism into new life. When John encountered religious leaders, he confronted them regarding their hypocritical lifestyle where they taught one way but lived the opposite. He likened their lives to that of fruit trees that are not producing good fruit:
“The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:10 CSB).
John’s warning to the religious leaders about the consequences of living lives inconsistent with righteousness is a wake-up call for all of us. As Christians, we are to live as Christ. We are expected to produce good fruit. Galatians 5 lists the type of fruit our lives should be producing:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Christians need to regularly inventory our lives to reconcile if the fruit we are producing is the good fruit God expects us to produce. The idea of the ax, ready to strike the root of our tree is not something to take lightly. In Matthew 3:10 above, it doesn’t sound like God takes it lightly either.
Pray and ask God to search your heart. Ask God to reveal any bad fruit in your life and request His Holy Spirit to rejuvenate you with the sweet fruit found in Galatians 5. My mother loved her fruit producing trees, bushes, and vines, but they were of no use for her purposes if they did not produce good fruit. Be bold in your daily life purposing to produce good fruit that will positively impact those around you as a reflection of God’s great love.
Scripture is quoted from the Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.
Share This Devotional