When I was a kid, we had a old rotten pecan tree in our back yard. It dropped hundreds and hundreds of pecans in our back yard every season, but with one big problem. Since the tree was old and rotten, the tree could not hold the pecans on the tree long enough for the pecans to get ripe. All of these pecans that fell in our back yard were inedible. They were not ripe. They were extremely bitter. We use to play jokes on our friends by cracking these pecans, placing them in a bowl, and enticing our friends to eat them. We wanted to see that ugly face they would make with they tasted the bitterness of an underripe pecan.
Not only were these pecans inedible, they were dangerous. Like a young boy should, I ran around our neighborhood barefooted. I don’t know if you are aware, but their is a sharp point on the ends of a pecan shell. When I, and others, would run through our back yard, we would step on the points of these pecans and it hurt. As we were hoping on one foot because of the pain shooting through our damaged foot, we would undoubtedly hope onto the point of another pecan and damage our other foot. It was right out of a cartoon. I cannot tell you how many times this happened to me and my friends.
These pecans get worse. Not only were they inedible, not only did they cause us pain, they took time out of my life. It was my job to pick these pecans up and keep them out of our yard. Thus was a daily chore during pecan season, so these pecans took valuable cartoon watching time out of my childhood for which I still struggle to eat pecans today without getting a little mad at this tree nut.
This pecan tree was rotten. It did not give us any blessings. It brought us pain and cost us time.
As we began our celebration of Holy Week yesterday, I am reminded of another rotten tree. The Fig Tree found in Matthew 21:18-22, which occurs after the Triumphal Entry that we celebrated in this past Sunday. Jesus during Holy Week in Matthew finds a fig tree that is not producing fruit. Jesus then curses the tree for being good for nothing and not producing any fruit. Jesus knew that Holy Week marked the beginning of the end of His earthly ministry. He knew that in a week he would be crucified and rise again. He knew in just two months, he would ascend back to Heaven.
I believe Jesus began to prepare the disciples and his followers for life without his physical presence. One of his first lessons was “produce fruit.” Jesus knew that thew world needs men and women that produce fruit. The world needs people that will benefit others. The world needs people that will uplift others. The world needs people that show a better way to live faithful to the will of God. The world needs people to show the way, and people will follow those that produce the fruit they want in their own lives.
Too many Christians are like that old rotten pecan tree in our back yard. We produce the bitter fruits of whining, complaining, rudeness, coldness among others. We hurt the very people we are suppose to be ministering to, and we take time and drain others instead of feeding Christ’s sheep. This has lead many to move away for Jesus Christ and the gospel. Our words may be in line with God’s word, but the fruit of our lives tell a different story. People listen to fruit more than words, and even more than actions.
Let’s show the more excellent way. Let’s show people the impact the gospel can have in their lives by allowing the gospel to produce fruit in our own lives. Put forth the effort to produce fruit. Allow the word of God to till your soil. Allow worship to water your soul. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring the harvests. Live a life of harvest for others to see, so they can know that God through the work of Christ and the movement of the Spirit can take their barren lives and bring forth fruit in them as well.
Nothing will impact others more that showing them fruit. Your words will fall short if your branches are empty. Your actions will seem hollow if you branches are empty. Your will be viewed as as a hypocrite until your branches bare the fruit of life empowered by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let our witnessing be reinforced by the fruit of our branches.
May Jesus never look at you and see a barren fig tree.