We have friends who have a pear tree in their yard. The past year, the weather in Colorado was so warm in early spring that the tree burst into bloom. But it was too early—inevitably a snowstorm blew through and froze the blossoms, ending the development of the fruit. It is a pear tree, but driving by who would know? There’s no fruit to prove it.
Jesus told a story about a fruit tree, and likened it to the human experience:
By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them (Matthew 7:16-21).
It’s a sobering revelation. When people continually or consistently produce bad fruit—or no fruit—they prove themselves to be bad trees. In our world of grading on a curve and passing everyone for showing up, Jesus spoke truth, revealing God’s perspective.
Look at your own life. What kind of fruit do you produce?
What about those around you? Can you think of examples of people whose actions announce to a watching world they are ambassadors of God’s goodness? Sobering truth: if we don’t bear good fruit, we can loose the opportunity to bear fruit at all (see verse 19)!