Thursday, May 7, 2009
"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers." Luke 6:47-48
When our children were small, we would take them apple picking several times in the fall. It was a genuine treat to be out an open space walking and talking together, while we picked wonderful ripe apples right from the trees. One of the things about going to a well tended orchard is that there is often a great deal of fruit to pick. We would lift our kids up when they were small, but most often they could fill a basket to overflowing quite quickly from where they stood. All too often they wanted to keep going when we had quickly picked all that we needed. Several orchards we have been to have long poles with a small basket on the end to pick apples that are high in the trees. We all loved practicing with the poles and trying to pull down high apples. Mark and I still go out and pick fruit whenever we get a chance.
Jesus is teaching his disciples about daily living and loving ministry. He wants them to understand that their daily practice is important. If they are humble and loving, as God requires, there will be humble and loving fruit from their ministry. Likewise, if their intention is for power and control, that fruit will be manifest also. It is easy for us humans to talk a good talk. Jesus is calling us to walk the walk. We must prune and tend our orchards daily, ridding ourselves of the violence and anger that we hold on to. Jesus invites us to let those thing drop and rot so that we can live abundantly by love.
Today, I want to remember all those people who walked the walk and taught me to live my life with forgiveness and compassion. I pray that I can follow their example, setting aside bitterness and anger for the compost pile and feeding my ministry with love and compassion for others. May we all be strengthened by God to bear good fruit. May we humbly love others, so that the world might know that God walks among us, walks the orchard, planting the gifts of love and transformation in our hearts.