My Bible reading this week brought me to a verse that I remember because I learned it early in my childhood.
I didn’t understand it as a young child; Mother explained it to me in terms of plant apple seeds and from that come apple trees and then apples and not oranges. The well-known verse is verse is found in Matthew 7:16.
The Contemporary English version puts it this way: “You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thorn bushes.” We know people by their fruit or their actions.
Today I am thinking about this concept of fruit or deeds and the stories of greed that have been coming from Wall Street. For some, greed was the driving force behind their actions.
Consider the financier and businessman Barnard Madoff. People have confirmed that he was a friendly and magnetic man. He was an influential character in the financial world from Wall Street to Washington, D.C. He was revered by those in power. But his greed and swindling of people is partly what produced an exorbitant penthouse in New York City, private jets, and a magnificent yacht to sail the French Rivera. Madoff may be the most well-known but he is not alone in his greed. There have been stories of CEOs who reap millions in bonuses while those under them are suddenly laid off because of hard times: No income, no insurance, no financial security.
These are stories of accumulations because the fruits of their thinking have produced greed.
Many Christians stumble and fall short; I know because I am a testimony to that. But think about the fruits of Christianity as a whole. As I look around our area, I see two children’s homes in Portales for children in need. Both are founded and funded by Christian organizations. I recently talked with people who are involved in a vision project, and they travel to Africa every year as volunteers. Instead of suitcases for clothes they pack cases with glasses, fit glasses on people and give the gift of better vision to those who would otherwise not have glasses. Also there is a group of farmers who are Christian-based who show African farmers how to best use their parched soil to raise food for their families.
The Salvation Army was established by William Booth, a minister who preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor in London. The names of many hospitals in America are named after Christian organizations such as St. Mary’s Hospital or The Methodist Hospital because those denominations or entities are the ones that started those hospitals. The Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse has a program just for children who have heart problems. It identifies those little children who have life-threatening heart disease. These children are in countries that do not have the technology or training to help them. So Samaritan’s Purse matches those children with hospitals in North America and expert surgeons donate their time and services to give those children a chance at life.
Compassion International has a ministry to feed children all over the world who live in hopelessness and poverty. Food for the Hungry is an international Christian relief organization that “answered God’s call to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the poor in more than 26 countries.” Prison Fellowship International is a Christian organization that ministers to prisoners and their families and it is global.
Through these organizations and the volunteers, we certainly can see the intentions by their actions. “By their fruits you shall know them”… what is evident in your life today?
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: email@example.com