Friday, October 19, 2007

Lessons from the Mystery Trees

Last week we decided to plant a couple of fruit trees in our backyard. When we got to the store we noticed a large cluster of trees marked, “Shade,” “Flowering,” or “Fruit.” No specifics were given beyond that so we called a salesman over to help us.

“What kind of fruit trees are these?” We asked, hunting for a perhaps hidden label.

He rolled his eyes. “Can you believe those guys? They sent us a bunch of unlabeled trees. All I know is that they are either apple or pear because that’s all we get this time of year.” He pointed to the leaves. “From the look of the leaves I’d guess these are apple trees.”

Since we like both apples and pears we bought two figuring we’d either have two of the same or one of each. So in a couple of years we’ll know. Maybe we’ll end up with a combination of the two. I’ve seen stranger things at our local Farmer’s Market. What would you call those—papples? For now we call what we have the mystery trees.

As I planted them Jesus’ words, “for the tree is known by its fruit,” kept running through my head. I wouldn’t know what kind of jam to plan on making until the tree started to produce apples or pears. Later I looked the verse up, expecting to see some kind of connection to believers versus non-believers—one of those “you’ll know who belongs to Me by the fruit of his or her life.” Instead I got a rather jolting surprise. The fruit that Jesus referred to was our words!

“For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil” (Matthew 12:34b-35).

So today I’m hyper-sensitive to what my words reveal about my heart. Do they reflect Christ’s heart of love and encouragement or the world’s sarcasm and negativity? I’m told that I have a pretty quick sense of humor so I’m sad to say that I’m often guilty of spouting off words that don’t reflect Who I belong to. I do don’t it intentionally; usually it’s just an attempt to sound cute and clever. Today I plan to be more careful with my words.

What about you? What do your words say about your heart?

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