The Christmas Tree
With Christmas just around the corner, it seems timely to pass on some profound wisdom I heard from my friend, Jim Doak.
We are quickly impressed, even delighted, by the beauty of a Christmas tree. Covered in twinkling lights, shiny balls, and wooden ornaments, topped by a star or an angel, and surrounded by Christmas presents. Add a festive atmosphere with family, fun, food, and music – who doesn’t love a Christmas tree?
The Fruit Tree
Outside is a fruit tree. No lights, balls, ornaments, stars, angels, or presents. No festivity, fun, or music – just a tree, covered in fruit. It thrives in sunlight, rainfall, and good, rich soil but may have to endure pests and seasons of drought and barrenness.
We are every one of us like one of these trees.
We can be covered in sparkling spiritual goodies and gifts but where do these come from? All good gifts come down from above, tied on to our branches by the kindness and grace of our loving God but is He impressed by these gifts? Of course not – He gave them to us.
Or we can be covered in fruit, grown from within over years of tending and painful pruning. Is He impressed by our fruit? Absolutely. It’s what He’s always wanted – fruitful trees.
What About Us?
God is far more impressed by the fruit tree than the Christmas tree. The good fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control in our lives grows only as we abide in Christ. When we read the Scriptures, depend on the Holy Spirit’s help daily, do good, and gracefully endure hardship, the result is a mature person, ready to offer His spiritual fruit to others.
The spiritual gifts are just that, gifts. We didn’t earn them and can’t buy them; they are from God because of His kindness and the way He chooses to operate. God is not as impressed by the gifts He gave us to use as by the fruit that we have developed by abiding in Him.
After Christmas, the true nature of the Christmas tree becomes obvious – it dries up, is stripped of all its decorations, and discarded. The fruit tree’s produce can be enjoyed all summer until it is pruned again for next year’s harvest. Which are we going to be?