“A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 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.” Luke 6:44-45 (NLT)
My father’s only brother, Earnest Finney, had 4 huge green skin apple trees on his property. These trees produced more apples than the whole community could consume. He didn’t plant the trees. No one knew how the trees got there. I would imagine they had to have been over a hundred years old. They were huge! And they produced a lot of apples. It was nothing to see as many as 20 people out in Uncle Earnest’s field in the late afternoon or early evening picking apples. As far as I know, he never charged anyone for those apples. They were free and plentiful.
` So let me make what seems to be a silly observation about this. People always came to gather green skin apples from those trees. A cousin of my father, John Hairston, had huge black heart cherry trees and both apple and cherry trees looked very similar to me. Yet no one ever came to Uncle Earnest’s to get cherries. Why? Well, duh! It was because His trees were known by the fruit they produced, green skin apples.
I remember one year, the apples from one of his apple trees were not very good. We never knew why, but everyone could tell it. That summer, Uncle Earnest put up a sign in front of that tree area saying “Bad Apples.” I don’t know why that sign was funny to me but I still chuckle when I think about it. The next year and every year after, the apples from that tree, like the others trees, were wonderful and sweet to eat.
Well, the scripture from Luke 6 tells us the same thing is true for the lives we live. It compares our lives to that of a fruit tree. We too are known by the fruit our lives and actions produce. The question for us is “Are we producing good fruit from the treasury of a good heart or bad fruit from the treasury of an evil heart?”
I think the term “the treasury of” is important in this discussion. Like that one apple tree in Uncle Earnest’s field that one year produced “bad apples,” we too are not perfect. We all make mistakes from time to time. And the fruit coming from our tree might be an unkind thought, some bad actions or evil words. So a Christian can produce some bad fruit, but not long if that person has “the treasury of a good heart.” The Holy Spirit will convict that person to seek forgiveness from God and those injured by their actions. Even though we might, from time to time, find ourselves producing some bad fruit from our tree (lives), we will be known by “the treasury of a good heart!”
Join us for worship this Sunday at Covenant, when the sermon will be “What Kind of Fruit Are You?” It’s based on James 1:17-27