For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:43-45)
Jesus The Arborist
The teaching of Jesus was simple. His illustrations were powerful because of their simplicity. Eager students of truth would not miss the clarity of the lessons Jesus presented whether He was speaking in parables or using common things of life to drive a point home. The sermon on the mount shows the simplicity of how the character of the disciple of Christ is formed. Learning to be humble and loving an enemy would take a tremendous change of heart requiring the mercy and grace of the Father. Hypocrisy could not be a part of the disciple’s life and the proof was in the character of the person. It was one thing to hear Jesus exhort His followers to be humble, love their enemies and not judge one another with a hypocritical heart. The real evidence of a change in heart was the change of action. This would be illustrated with a fruit bearing tree.
Good trees bear good fruit and diseased trees bear bad fruit. A simple law of nature convicts the listener to see the truth of Jesus’ teaching. Every person is known by their actions. Figs do not come from thorns or grapes from bramble bush (thistles). In the same way, people of good hearts will bear fruits showing their good hearts where bad attitudes come from hearts diseased by sin. This is an absolute pattern in nature and in the hearts of men. What comes out of the mouth first had residence in the heart. Often we may say, “I did not mean to say that.” In fact, we said it because it was in our heart. We may regret saying what we thought but an evil word does not come from a good heart. The tongue cannot be tamed but the heart can. Jesus implores His listeners to examine the heart and see what needs to be corrected.
An arborist is someone who cultivates, manages and studies trees, shrubs and vines. Jesus set forth a curriculum for all those who would be His disciple to look within their hearts and cultivate from good ground a tree that bears good fruit. This takes a lot of work and diligence. Arborists spend a lot of time examining, pruning and nurturing the tree to bring its full potential to bear. We must do the same thing with our hearts so that evil thoughts and words do not come out in a moment of recklessness. Controlling the heart is bearing good fruit both in words and in action. Hearts that are nurtured by the love of God will be more patient, kind, understanding and forgiving. The word of God must be carefully studied to learn how to cultivate the heart to think the right things, say the right things and act in the right way.
The most important lesson is to realize that what we are comes from our heart. If the heart does not change we will not change. Those who wish they could have a better attitude must change the heart first. When words come out of the mouth that embarrasses us and offend others we must see the problem lies within our hearts. We are what we have made ourselves to be in our hearts. Good hearts bring forth good things and bad hearts bring bad things. This is true in the natural world of fruit trees and this is true in the real world of men’s hearts. A bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit. Hearts that are filled with the world cannot (and will not) bring forth righteousness. The treasure of the heart defines our character. For out of the abundance of the heart our mouths speak. The only cure is to spend time with the arborist from God – Jesus Christ.