March 23, 2019
by Tim Jones
Luke 6:43-45 New Living Translation (NLT)The Tree and Its Fruit
43 “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44 A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
There are few things I love more than good fruit. I have never been a candy, chocolate or cake person, but I can get my sweet fix on fruit any day of the week. While I'm not sure there is a fruit out there I don't like, some of my favorites fall within the berry group. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are the best! Even writing about them now is making my mouth water.
Besides grabbing a handful of berries for a snack or putting them in my cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, I love to make fruit smoothies. Packed full of vitamins and minerals that can help lower the risk of heart disease and increase your immune system, is there any better drink on the planet? (Stop naming other drinks...it was a rhetorical question.)
Many years, and about 40 pounds, ago, my wife, Brandy, and I came home from working out. We were extremely hungry, and we were craving hot wings, but decided we had worked too hard to gain back the calories one hot wing would replenish. So, we decided on fresh fruit smooties. I rummaged through the fridge and on our countertops and pulled together a mango, some blueberries and some strawberries. After dumping the fruit and some ice in the blender, I topped it off with a splash of orange pineapple juice. It was incredible. I gave the first one to Brandy, and then I started making mine. The ingredients were the same, but there was one strawberry that was a little mushy. "They" say hindsight is 20/20, and let me tell you, "they" are right. I should have thrown that sucker away; instead, I plopped it in with the rest of the berries thinking, "one, small, bad piece of fruit won't make a difference."
But, boy was I wrong.
The difference between the two smoothies was like night and day. Brandy's was sweet and delicious, while mine was bitter and disgusting. And it was from one small piece of fruit that had gone bad.
But that's life isn't it? We can be on cloud nine receving a hundred compliments on how we are doing a wonderful job, but then comes the one...the one thing that is said and it devastates us.
It's always the one thing that ruins it all.
Today's Gospel lesson reminds us we are fruit producers, and our fruit is good or bad based upon what we treasure in our hearts. So, this begs the questions: What do we treasure, and what kind of fruit are we producing?
These questions are important because, like a smoothie, we are a blended people from all walks of life, cultures, and traditions. We call this connectionalism. It is within this connectionalism we are able to combine the fruits we produce to make the kingdom of God what it should be; however, it only takes one bad fruit to spoil the whole thing.
As we continue our Lenten journey to the cross and into resurrection, may we each review the things we treasure in our hearts and make the necessary changes, with the help of God, to produce good fruit. And may God use that fruit to bring in the kingdom of Heaven. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.