Bearing Fruit

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

“Blessed is the man [whose] delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by the streams of water, which yields its fruits in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”  (Psalm 1:3)

 Driven by the desire to bear fruit, our every undertaking is bound to yield a bountiful harvest, otherwise it becomes a futile venture.  In one of Jesus’ notable parables–-the Parable of the Sower, which He recounted to His peasant audience, He spoke of a farmer who went out to sow his seeds under varied soil conditions. The first set of seeds fell on a pathway, the second set on shallow ground and the third on thorny ground. In neither of these instances did the seeds thrive. Birds picked up the seeds in the first, the roots of the second lot could not grow deep because the soil was shallow, and the third set of plants were choked by thorns. Only the seeds that fell on the fourth type of soil, qualified as ‘good,’ survived to produce fruits a hundred, sixty and thirty-fold.   (Matthew 13:1-23)  

“By their fruit, we shall know them.”

Fruitfulness is demanded of every true believer. This is made explicit in a parable that was told by our Lord Jesus---the parable of the talents. A certain king was about to undertake a long journey so he called three of his servants and gave them assignments. “To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.” (Matthew 25:15) We are told the first man went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. The one with two talents did likewise, gaining double. Unfortunately, the third employee who received one talent ‘dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” (verse 18) 

When the king returned each had to render account of what they had done with the sum of money entrusted to them. The first and second reported having doubled their profits but the third gave a lame excuse for his unfruitfulness. The first two were congratulated with; “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”  (Luke 25:23) To the third employee, the king said, “You wicked and lazy servant!” Then he ordered that the money be withdrawn from him and given to the first. The master concluded; “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have in abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” (Matthew 25:29) It did not end there. “And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:30)

The life we live must be purposeful to be fruitful. Life is not about pleasures and comfort. Each must bear fruit according to the ability and gift the Lord has given him/her. We shall all be held accountable for what we have done with our lives; whether we have squandered it in ‘the things of this world’ or whether in serving God, our Maker.    

Bad fruits

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruits you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, 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.” (Matthew 7:15-20) What we do with our lives will determine the kind of fruit that we produce—either good or bad. “Make a tree good and it will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognised by its fruit.”(Matthew 12:33) Fruitfulness, like the prospects of a good fruit, is cultivated. It is a process which demands a determined effort. Nothing comes easy except we put our hands to the plough. 

God wants us to be fruitful. In another parable, our Lord Jesus underlined this; “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilise it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”  (Luke 13:6-9) God is ready and willing to give us a second chance when we fail to produce fruits after the first attempt. It is not His desire that we should fail. Everyone should make it a point, following our inclination or our gifting, to endeavour to produce fruits for the kingdom.

Fruitfulness should be evident and palpable because it is the sole measurement for growth. It marks the end-product of our efforts. But more so, it is a booster to better performance. In all our endeavours, our resourcefulness will crown our pain with gain. 

Actually, all we need to do to be fruitful is to stay with the vine as a branch. Clinging to the vine the branches will always produce good fruits. Jesus is that vine. We are the branches. Let’s all stay connected! (John 15:1-4, 8)  

Author: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye