Fruit Trees and Heart Health
In the midst of the lockdown and our inability to travel was a small oasis in the front courtyard. Somewhat atypical for homes in the immediate area, the place where we stayed, while in Jordan, had several fruit bearing trees: lemon, almond, olive, fig and pomelo. Now some people, who are more familiar than I was, might have been able to determine the kind of tree just by looking at the leaves. But since I didn’t know, I had to see the actual fruit, and in the case of the almond tree, eat some.
Jesus taught his followers an important lesson about trees and fruit:
"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." - Luke 6:43-45
- Notice first, the connection between the inside and the outside. In much the same way that fruit on a tree is determined by the nature of the tree, outward behavior is determined by the nature of the person. Who we are on the inside will affect what people see and experience on the outside.
- Also, notice that there are only two categories: good or bad. The idea of being somewhere in the middle is not a consideration. Perhaps this is because when it comes to eating the fruit, there is a threshold of what we will and will not eat or more precisely, what we will and will not enjoy eating. … Now, you might be wondering, “Who is the ultimate judge?” … Well, from other teachings in the Bible, it is clearly not us. It is God.
- So, how will he judge us? At some point you could say that it will be based on the fruit that we bear. More importantly though, it will be based on the condition of our heart - since that is the key to producing fruit in the first place. But this is where the real challenge comes in. We can try to control what we say and do, but how exactly do we shape the nature of our heart? Fortunately, God cares about this and actually offers to do the work for us. We just need to place our faith in him and ask him to do it.
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." - Ezekiel 36:26-27
Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30
Learning from Jesus together with you,
Pastor Mike Mercurio