Growing up in rural Shelby County Missouri meant spending lots of time on the farm, one of my favorite places to be. We had a farm just north of Shelbina that my dad called Beulah land and it had a small fruit orchard on it. I loved walking through and picking pears, apples, or plums then eating one after another. Nothing beat the taste of freshly picked fruit off the tree. One of the worst things though is picking a piece of fruit, taking a bite, then realizing it is rotten due to worms or birds eating on it. We, the church, are to be an orchard for the LORD. As we live out in the community, or gather together, we are to bear good fruit that others would know Christ. Matthew 12:33 says “Either make the tree good and its fruit will be good, or make the tree bad; for a tree is known by it’s fruit.” (CSB) When we live out gospel lives, we bear good fruit as we live out the great commandment and the great commission. When we are striving to be like Christ our fruit is fresh, crisp, and covered in the gospel.
The problem is that for us we struggle with sin and sin is the greatest contaminant of good fruit. It is like the worm that works its way into the apple, spoiling it from the inside out. Sin is like the pear that was pecked by the birds and begins to rot and deteriorate on the tree. Sin spoils good fruit and damages the fruit. I wonder if any of us are dealing with damaged fruit today? Perhaps in your life you are struggling with sin, or maybe even beyond struggling, sampling accepting it. Perhaps the sin of gossip, backbiting, anger, jealousy, or bitterness has made your once good fruit less than edible. We are warned to make both the tree (our lives) and the fruit (what we produce both verbally and physically) good. Perhaps it is time to look inward and ask that question today?
I know in my own life the more I am seeking to bear good fruit I spot the bad easier. Sometimes I see it gradually, over time, and sometimes I see it immediatly, like a bad dream. Etiher way I am always saddened over my heart. I know that I must bear good fruit so that others would know Christ. One of the ways dad and I would ensure good fruit was to spray the orchard a few times a year to protect the trees and the fruit. We took measures to ensure the fruit was good as well as the tree through fertilization and attacking the bugs. We can do this as well in our lives. It starts with repenting of the sin that has made our fruit rotten, this is direct attack on the bugs. Then we must spend time in the word and pray, we must fertilize and nourish our hearts. Then we must GO and be gospel witnesses in our communities and work places. Sharing the good fruit of the gospel. I pray your are bearing good fruit but don’t be disheartened if your struggling, turn and cling tightly to Christ today!