V


On a Fruitful Life      

The fruit of people's lives will reveal the life they have chosen to live.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt has lost its power to purify, flavor, and preserve, how can it be made salt again? It is worthless, except to be discarded and trampled under foot.

Do you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from among thistles? A healthy tree cannot produce unhealthy fruit; nor does a rotten tree produce healthy fruit. Likewise, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces rotten fruit. The unhealthy tree is cut down and used as wood for the fire.

Once, a man planted a fig tree within the walls of his vineyard. For three years he waited for it to bear fruit, but none came. At last he called the chief gardener: "Three years I have walked here, each year expecting to find fruit from this fig tree; and still it is barren. Why should it take up space on my grounds any longer? Cut it down."

To this, the gardener replied: "Give the tree one more season. I will fertilize its roots and give it special attention. Perhaps then, it will bear fruit. If not, you do right in cutting it down."

When your lives bear fruit, my Father is glorified, and you are become my true disciples. From a good life flows goodness from what is stored within; while an evil life produces only barrenness.

A farmer went into the field to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside and the birds swarmed down and ate them. Some of the seeds fell among stony places, where there was not enough earth. Here, they sprouted quickly in the shallow soil but lacking roots, were scorched by the sun and soon withered. Some seeds fell among bramble bushes and were choked by the thorns.

But certain of these seeds did find good earth, and these made up for the seeds that were lost and yielded a good crop; returning a harvest that was thirty, sixty, and even one hundred times the seed that was planted.

When you hear the word of the kingdom and fail to understand the teaching, the enemy comes and steals away the seed that is planted in the heart. This is similar to the seed that fell by the roadside.

The seed that was scattered on stony ground represents those who hear the word of God and eagerly accept it, but have no roots of inner conviction. Their experience might last for a time , but when trouble or persecution arises resulting from their decision to follow the truth, they become discouraged and drift away.

The seed that was sown among the thorn bushes represents those that hear these words, but are soon overwhelmed by the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. The teaching is choked, and their lives become barren.

The seed that fell on good earth represents those that hear these words and understand the message they contain. Their lives will yield accordingly an abundant harvest: thirty, sixty, and one hundred times the good that is planted within.



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