The world is an orchard – a vast, enveloping orchard of people appearing as trees. Hardly an inch of land lies untouched by the trees, foliage rioting outward and upward into a rich canopy.
As we look at the orchard, we discern little difference among the trees. The bark and leaves of one appear to be identical to those of its neighbors. We see that every tree bears fruit, but from this distance, we cannot see what kind of fruit. We step into the orchard, begin to move among the trees, and are shocked.
Good Fruit and Bad Fruit
The world is an orchard of mixed fruit! Amazingly, it does not limit itself to a single fruit species. More amazingly, individual trees do not limit themselves to one fruit species! One tree bears seven different species of fruit. A second tree bears thirteen or fourteen species. We begin counting the kinds of fruit on a third tree and stop, in progress, at twenty-three!
The fruit on some of the trees tempts with beauty and fragrance. The fruit on other trees repels with decay and stench. We study it, looking for answers. What caused the fruit on some trees to turn so disgusting while the fruit on other trees remained fresh, top quality, and delicious-looking? Did brown rot hit the fruit on some trees as it developed – and skip the fruit on other trees? Did a selective fungus cause this? Did green and blue mold cause those awful discolorations? What made some fruit so desirable and other fruit so objectionable? Why does this one orchard hold both good fruit and bad fruit?
God tells us that fruit disease does not cause this havoc. Nor does a band of evil spirits fly through the orchard, touching part of the trees with demonic decay while leaving other trees untouched.
The devastation, God says, springs from the trees themselves. The difference in the trees determines which fruit will rot long before the first blossoms appear.
“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” Matthew 7:17 and 18
Different Fruits from Different Roots
The trees of the orchard are alike in that every tree bears fruit. The orchard’s trees differ in two other respects, though.
- Every good tree bears good fruit – Every corrupt tree bears evil fruit.
- Good trees cannot bear evil fruit – Corrupt trees cannot bear good fruit.
The fruit tells you which tree is which, God says: “For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.” Luke 6:44
Suppose we went out and planted a big orchard of thorny locust trees. We enhanced the soil with the best fertilizer. We pruned, watered, and tended the trees faithfully. Then, as the summer drew toward an end, we went out with a truckload of baskets, eager to harvest bushels of juicy, red apples. How would that work for us? Would we get a bumper crop of apples?
Many people think every tree bears a little good fruit. They say, “There’s a spark of good in everyone,” or “There’s a little bit of good in the worst of us.” God disagrees. God says we will not find a single corrupt tree bearing good fruit. Nor will we find a good tree bearing evil fruit.
It is a matter of roots. Different fruits come from different roots. If the tree enjoys good roots, it will bear good fruit. The tree that possesses bad roots will bear, of necessity, nothing but evil fruit.
The world is an orchard whose trees are men and women, boys and girls. The orchard of people holds trees bearing beautiful Christian character traits. Click here to see the list of 66 Christian character traits drawn from the moral absolutes God gives in the Bible. Regrettably, the world orchard of people also holds trees bearing the repulsive fruits of immorality.
The next article in this series will look at the two kinds of trees in more depth.
© 2014 by Elizabeth L Hamilton. All rights reserved.