By Melanie Rigney
Every Thursday after work, I stop at the local farmers’ market. It’s like going to a party—music, pizza, sandwiches, beer, wine—and of course, the fruits and vegetables.
“By their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:16, NAB)
At the farmers’ market, I try to bypass the bad fruit. For me, “bad” isn’t about misshapen, too large or too small, or bruised; it’s about apples with wormholes and the like. Still, some types of rotten fruit isn’t as evident; think about the times you’ve come home and found mold at the bottom of a container of berries, and had to throw the whole thing out. After all, bad fruit can result in headaches, vomiting, and food poisoning, and who needs that?
Beyond the farmers’ market or grocery store, bad fruit isn’t always easy to identify either. Our world is filled with false prophets, whose messages are so alluring. They tell us a specific diet or exercise regimen will solve all our problems. They tell us that hating or ridiculing people who don’t look or talk like us will make for a better, safer world. They fill our entertainment options with people who look to vanity, lust, and greed for solutions to their problems.
Now, that’s not to say all self-help experts, politicians, and producers are rotten to the core. But before we follow them, we need to discern whether they are following the Lord. We don’t know that by their pretty words, toned bodies, or financial success. We judge by their fruits. And that, for us as Christians, is pretty easy if we are diligent and willing to conduct a full investigation as to what they’re offering is truly Spirit-filled. I think about a friend of mine who was dating two men, both attractive, both easy to be around. The time had come to make a decision. “Choose the one who will help you get to heaven,” my friend’s mother advised. And so, my friend chose the man who was more engaged with her young daughter, who was also the one who was a regular churchgoer and involved in their parish. Thirty-plus years later, they’re still married. The good fruit they have borne together includes three more children, and supporting dozens more children through a global humanitarian organization they chose carefully.
I think often about my friend’s mother’s words: “Choose the one who will help you get to heaven.” And the ones who will help us get to heaven—spouse, friends, coworkers, fellow volunteers—are the ones we will know by their fruits.
What bad but tasty fruit is the Lord asking you to put aside?
About the author:
Melanie Rigney hopes to bear good fruit through her writing, including a new book, Woman of Worth: Prayers and Reflections for Women Inspired by the Book of Proverbs, and regular contributions to Living Faith. She lives in Arlington, VA, two blocks from the Ballston Farmers’ Market. Check her out at www.melanierigney.com.