There’s so much in Matthew chapters 6 and 7 about fruitfulness, and I find it extremely challenging. I began to wonder about my own fruitfulness in God’s kingdom.
Jesus says that it’s got to be a good tree to produce good fruit. I’m not an evangelist. Does that mean that when it comes to fruitfulness I don’t measure up? No. I don’t think we’re just playing a numbers game here. What’s the point of hundreds of apples on my tree if each one is a sharp little crab apple, not worth much?
What ‘counts’ as fruit, I wonder? What does a ‘good’ tree look like?
Being a needlewoman myself, I suddenly thought of a lady called Dorcas, a ‘disciple’ we hear about in Acts 9. It says she was ‘always doing good and helping the poor’. Dorcas died, and her body was laid out. But instead of burying her, the disciples in Joppa sent two men to find Peter to urge him to ‘come at once’. Well, Peter came and prayed, and Dorcas came back to life.
When Peter arrived at her house he was greeted by all the widows crying and holding out garments that Dorcas had made for people. Dorcas was clearly a valued and much-loved lady. I think Dorcas blessed all those around her by her sewing, her generosity, her loving attitude of care and helping. I bet she encouraged the new mums by making the baby clothes. She encouraged the new brides by stitching their wedding dresses. She helped those struggling to clothe their families.
Isn’t this fruitfulness? Dorcas gave love and care and encouragement. Something of the nature of Jesus shone through Dorcas. There was a good tree in there somewhere, and the fruit always came out good.
Last week, friends of mine replaced their second family car. The wife was dying to be the first to drive it to work, but we both knew that her husband was dying to do the same. Then my friend said of her husband: “He’s so nice and so loving. I’m sure he’ll let me drive it first”. Do you know, I knew that was true too? And sure enough, he offered his wife the first go in the new car.
Whoa! That little incident said so much to me. We both knew that man was a good tree. And the fruit was lovely. It had the flavour of Jesus about it.
I wish I were nice and kind like that. Well, Jesus says, “You seek Me first and My way and I’ll look after the quality of the fruit”.
Prayer: Father, help me to want You and to live Your way in my life, so Your fruitfulness and Your beauty is seen in me. Amen.
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