“…Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire.”
I heard this several times in mass when I was younger and it somehow inspired fear. I did not want to be cut down and thrown to the fire. So I promised myself I’ll bear good fruit when I am older.
See, there’s a misunderstanding.
I thought “bearing fruit” means doing philanthropic work.
In my world, most charitable people I know are rich people because they have the money and resources to share. So, I thought, to bear fruit I need to be successful and build wealth.
I guess I am more ignorant of God’s words that I thought I was.
Or maybe I was being deaf when this part of the catechism was being discussed before. I even remember telling myself back then that it is okay to want to be rich because I can not help the needy if I am lacking myself.
A little true. Unless you fall into the trap and just be plain materialistic, like what happened to me.
I negotiated this idea of being rich with my conscience back then, a part of me knows I cannot serve two gods. But I insisted that I was doing it for God, so it’s okay. Until finally, I heard a faint voice telling me it was possible to help even without being rich. There are people who found ways to help and serve even if they do not have money themselves. But then, the part of me who was being greedy back then did not want to listen to that. Wanting to be charitable was a good reason to want to be rich first. So I pretended my conscience was clean.
As soon as I entered the workforce, I wanted to earn to be able to help others. When the money was short, I wanted to earn more. It was my excuse for not helping – I just do not have enough. Materialism kicked in and all the other sins as I kept on making excuses for myself. After awhile, I forgot why I wanted to earn alot anyway. In short, whatever fruit I was bearing then,was probably bitter and dry, if any at all.
Today, I heard about bearing fruits again but this time I listened with a new heart. It was so simple.
In the book of Psalms it says there clearly:
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
The same message was told over and over in different parts of the bible. I don’t know why I thought I had to be rich or that I had to wait until I am older. It is so clear, I only needed to “delight in the law of the Lord,” and to focus on God so I that may bear good fruit.
I am still not in the position to be a philanthropist but I still do want to be charitable.
Right now, I plan to work on myself everyday and recieve the fruits of the Spirit again: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I think I have to master having all those positive things in me and be able to show it to others through words and actions.
Bearing fruit do not ask people to become rich first. It does not have to be in the future, sometime before you die (like I imagined it to be). It is now. Every day fruit of a life lead by the Spirit, nourished by the Word of God.
Bible verses from:
biblegateway and openbible.info
Image by Maja Petric from Unsplash.com