Bearing Fruit

“Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.”
Luke 13:8-9

When it comes to plants, I don’t have what you might call a “green thumb.”

I do not have a “black thumb” in that I kill every plant I try to cultivate. I’ve successfully planted a rose bush. I’ve successful re-planted a raspberry bush. Both produced – the rose bush produced beautiful red flowers every year after I planted it. The raspberry bush has been producing luscious fruit each year so far.

Photo by Ed Blonski.

When it comes to poinsettias, however, I have not fared as well.

Each Christmas I am given several poinsettia plants. And each year I always intend to keep the plant, cultivate it, and try to get it to turn red by the next Christmas.

I haven’t been successful … yet.

However, this year my plant has retained some red throughout the year and it’s already October!

I think it is a goal of horticulturists, gardeners, planters, and all growers to have their plants survive, thrive, and, if they are fruit producers, to produce fruit.

This is the theme that Jesus uses in several of his parables: the Sower, the Weeds, the Mustard Seed, the Barren Fig Tree, the Wicked Tenants, and the Fig Tree.

These parables of Jesus were used to teach his disciples – which includes us – the importance of bearing fruit. Or in other words, the importance of living our lives as God intends us to live them, even created us to live them.

This is a dire warning to the local church and, perhaps, the larger denomination.

If we do not, as a local church or a larger denomination, bear fruit, God will remove us so that something fruitful can grow in our place.

The whole point is to produce fruit.

But what fruit? John the Baptist answers this question in Matthew 3:8, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.”

If we don’t bear this fruit, the world can never know about Jesus.

It is our calling, our goal, our job to tell the Good News about Jesus. That’s the fruit we are to bear. As we proclaim the Word of God to the world, the Holy Spirit prompts repentance in people’s hearts.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating that our culture could use this message of repentance and forgiveness more than ever before!

Let us not get caught up in committee meetings, budget battles, arguments over the use of guitars or organs to lead worship.

Let us continue to gather together – regularly – around God’s Word and Sacraments. Let us repent of our sins publically. Let’s not hide who we are.

Let’s tell others the liberating Good News of Jesus Christ!

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for your abundant mercy. We pray we will cast a shadow of Jesus Christ – the light of the world – on this dark and fearful world through our love and our message of his love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

© 2017 True Men Ministries

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