I’ve been thinking lately about the following Bible verse:
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.” -Matthew 12:33
When we look at a fruit tree, what do we see? We see the trunk, we see the branches, we see the leaves and in certain seasons, we will see the fruit. But is that the entire tree? No! We fail to see the most important part of the tree…the roots!
The roots of the tree not only provide stability for the tree within the surrounding soil, it also provides all the nutrition that will sustain the tree, the branches, the leaves and ultimately the fruit. The ultimate health of the roots (the overflow of nutrients) are what determines the overall health of the tree and everything it produces…or doesn’t…and we can’t even see them.
Back to the Bible for a second. The very next verse in Matthew states,
“For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.…”
Meaning, that everything we say or do, (our fruit) comes from the overflow of whatever is in our heart. Like the roots of a tree, people can’t see what is in our hearts. But they can make a determination of the condition of our heart by what is evidenced in our lives.
So let’s look at two trees:
The “fruit” of this tree is all the bad stuff we see in our world. Things like pride, immorality, rage, drunkenness and overall discord are all the result of what we call sin. These sins seek to destroy everything it touches, and many times, the very tree itself!
But what is at the root of sin? What is feeding it?
In every case, I believe the root cause (no pun intended) of all sin is Selfishness. Simply stated…it is putting “your” needs and wants ahead of everyone else’s.
Ok, now let’s look at another tree.
On this tree, the “fruit” we see are things like love, compassion, generosity, joy and unity. All of these fruits are blessings to others. They uplift and give life to others and in every case, they are “gifts” to the recipient and, as a result, the tree thrives.
But why? What is at the root of a tree like this?
I believe what nourishes such a tree is Selflessness. Selflessness is literally thinking of your “self” less. It is putting “others” needs and wants ahead of your own.
Two very real trees with two very different types of fruit. Unfortunately, our lives are filled with both types and what is more disturbing is that at times…we too can exemplify the same.
So what do we do?
I like to simplify stuff…so here ya go…
Focus on the root.
Which are you? Which would you like to be?
Pick one, feed it daily with your thoughts, your words, and your actions. Nurture it and then let the fruit of your life speak for itself.