Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thorns and Thisles

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 7:13-21

Today is the beginning of clergy conference and then convention begins. We are gathering in Fairbanks on a crisp and clear fall day. More than anything I just want to walk in the sun and relax. Meetings and gatherings after long days of moving are a challenge for me. And yet the gift and discipline of faithfulness, despite being weary and worn is that God has promised to make good fruits if we are but faithful. Even when we feel prickly and thorny, if we are willing to be present and participate, God will bless us.

Jesus has taught the disciples how to pray and to trust God in everything. Then he continues on to teach them just how complicated it is to be a disciple. It is easy to be lead astray, to be scratched and undone. The most dangerous situations can arise from the dark hearts of human beings in leadership who are more concerned for their power and prestige than for the people. When God's love and compassion is made evident in our lives, the evidence or the fruits of God's blessings are seen. If we follow God only for our own selfish goals, we are in danger of losing that same blessing and fruitfulness.

Today I ask God to help me be patient with myself as we move through so many changes so quickly. May our hearts be moved to be those who are faithful and fruitful, following God and caring for the people. May we be known by our good fruits and may God bless us all with the humility to care for God's abundance garden of blessings today.

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