Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.
When I was a newly-enrolled seminary student, I was invited to attend a women’s conference with a series of powerful African American women pastors/preachers. These ‘Sister Preachers’ were powerful, and filled with light and life. One of them was a woman named Anne Lightener Fuller. She is a slight women with a powerful carriage and voice. In one session, another seminarian asked her how she defended her role as a female pastor in a largely male-dominated denomination (the African Methodist Episcopal Church). Without missing a beat, she looked at this young woman and said something to the effect, I no longer defend my ministry. Instead, I tell those who doubt my call and my gifts to think of me as a tree. If I bear bad fruit, then they might be right and I should step down. But I know this ministry bears good fruit. And so I tell them, just taste my fruit, and know the power and the blessing of the Lord.
How shall we measure our work for the Lord and our walk before the Lord? I believe we can make that measurement by asking if our lives bear the fruit that is noted in Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control). And before you beat yourself up for not bearing ALL of these “fruits” equally well, no tree in nature can do that, and neither can we. But we can seek to bear some good fruit in, and for, the kingdom. May we, this week, go forward and be fruitful.