“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37
I have always loved going out to pick fruit, whether it is strawberries in late May and early June, peaches in July, beach plums in August, or Apples in the fall. Every experience in an orchard or along the side of the dunes brings a beauty and tenderness. Years ago, walking along a country road in Ireland, we picked blackberries as we walked and had a great breakfast of the sweet and abundant fruit. When our children were living at home we always went out with them to pick fruit. Now that they are grown we still plan to go out, hoping to take our granddaughter with us as well. God's abundance and blessings seems so evident in the process of piking fruit, and I always return home with a sense of thanksgiving and blessing.
Jesus talks about trees bearing fruit, both good and evil. We trees can, bear fruit and be generous in everything, or be rigid and selfish and bear the fruit of control and bitterness. God's reign is of abundance, even when we only see scarcity, and limits. We can tap into the rich soil of God's blessings, or we can cut ourselves off and protect our limited resources until they are gone. God invites us to be bearers of abundant and good fruits, even in times of anxiety and scarcity. God asks us to be blessing in a hard world, abundance and tenderness amidst harshness and shortage, knowing that we can bless others as we offer ourselves.
Today, I ask God to help me be a resource, to be a fruitful tree, so that others might see God's abundance and offered potential, in my life. In these hard times, when there is every reason for anxiety and worry, may we all be fruitful and abundant trees, planted firm in God's rich soil. May our faithfulness be a witness and a cool orchard in blistering and troubled times. May we be shelter to others as God has sheltered us, knowing that we are planted firm, and always blessed beyond measure.