Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | July 20, 2014

July 20, 2014 “The Appearance of Fruitfulness”

“Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.” (Matthew 21: 19)

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8)

Good Morning and a Blessed Lord’s Day to all of you!

This past Friday, my wife and I took a trip to what had been one of my favorite destinations as a child…Hershey, PA. At one time, it was rightly known as “Chocolate Town, USA”. When you’d drive into town, the streets were lined with street lamps that resembled Hershey Kisses, both wrapped and unwrapped. The streets bore names like “Cocoa Avenue”. Two iconic smoke stacks rose majestically at the heart of the chocolate factory where the candy was manufactured, right next to the huge bins that held the cocoa beans shipped from all parts of the world. Above it all was added the smell of chocolate, filling the air with its enticing aroma. Indeed, Hershey was the home of “The Great American Chocolate Bar.” Driving into town on Cocoa Avenue, you could still see the street lamps, still see the twin smoke stacks…but something was missing. No longer was their the sweet aroma of chocolate. There were remnants of the factory, but much had been torn down or was in the process of being torn down. No longer did train cars full of cocoa beans line up with their precious cargo at the plant. The town still bears the name of Milton Hershey, but the chocolate is now manufactured in Mexico. No longer is Hershey touted as “The Great American Chocolate Bar.” I confess a bit of sadness in all of this. Oh, appearances are pretty much the same. There’s still a great theme park. Streets still bear fanciful names. Street lamps have remained unchanged, but like the fig tree Jesus withered in Matthew’s gospel account, the real fruit is gone. Appearances are not the same as reality.

As Christians, we are expected by the Lord to be “fruit-bearers.” The appearance of spirituality is not what the Lord requires of us. Praying, worship attendance, and the like, if done without a desire to respond with obedience, changed lives, and a heart for God, are not the definition of being a follower of Christ. If this is the case, like the fig tree in Matthew, we can expect to wither. Rather, to the glory of God, we should “bear much fruit”, showing ourselves to those around us that we are truly disciples…students of Christ. Trust in the Lord to bring forth plentiful fruit in your life as you seek after him, heart, soul, mind, and strength. Let’s pray!

Holy and Merciful God; Our prayer this day is that we be fruitful in thought, word, and deed, and a blessing to all around us. Fill us with your goodness and your grace, we pray, in Jesus’ Blessed Name. Amen!




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