“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”Proverbs 11:30
As a young teenager not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, I decided to take business courses in high school. But in my senior year I made it my ambition, along with a number of other classmates, to take a course of study called Forestry and Conservation. The course was offered by BOCES in Herkimer County and I believe that we were the first class they had taking the course.
In the process of taking the course, each student was given a short introduction to the course and a syllabus outlining some of the particular subjects that would be covered during the school year. It didn’t take long for our teacher to dive into the material and the first topic of study was tree identification. So off to the woods we went, our outdoor classroom, with makeshift stumps for desks, pencils, paper, and lots of fresh air. Through the course of the year; we had to be able to identify not only fifty different types of trees, but also fifty types of plant life. When it came to the trees we had to not only identify them by their leaves but also their bark. So when winter came, out we went again, starting the identification process all over again, but in a foot or more of snow.
As far as school was concerned, my senior year was probably the best year of schooling I ever had up to that time. I also walked away with desire to spend the rest of my life working outdoors among all the trees and plants I had to identify so long ago. But we all know that wasn’t God’s plan for my life, as He had plans for me to identify one more tree and in doing so changed the course of my life forever.
You probably guessed already that I’m thinking of the Tree of Life. This tree is first mentioned in Genesis 2:9; 3:22, 24, it was located in the Garden of Eden, the fruit gave immortality to the one who ate it. This same tree is also mentioned in Revelation 2:7 and 22:2, 14; According to John the angel, literally messenger, tells the Loveless church at Ephesus that, “he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in Paradise of God.” (NASB) Those who have come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ are the “overcomers” and will partake of the Tree of Life for all eternity.
THE FRUIT OF THE RIGHTEOUS—As we consider Proverbs 11:30 we see that those who are living a righteous life will be the recipient of many blessings. The ESV Study Bible puts it this way: “The life of the righteous leads not only to blessing for themselves but also provides fruit that ‘captures, souls’ in a sense of leading people out of the path that ends in death.”
Considering the subject of personal righteousness, we must understand we have no righteousness outside of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We know that all our works are but filthy rags in the sight of the Lord. (Isaiah 64:6) and that there is none that are righteous before God, of their own merit. But in Christ we become a fruit bearer of the tree of life. Each of us have the opportunity to demonstrate the wisdom of God by winning the souls of men, women, and children, pointing them to the tree of life, that is, life eternal, an eternity lived only through the provision of Jesus Christ. I love the phrase, “he who wins souls…” Literally it means he who “captures” or “takes.” It is usually used of as a negative term for defeating one’s enemy. Perhaps this literal notion is not too far off the mark, as we seek out one who is an enemy of God in order to bring them to the true Tree of life—Jesus Christ, thus, making them friends of God. If you know Jesus as your Savior, this is one fruit we all need to bear.
WE BEAR THIS FRUIT SO THAT OTHERS MIGHT EAT FREELY—We live in a day where we see death all around us. Even at this writing I have lost another friend and brother in Christ to Covid-19. Every day the statistics that are mentioned on the nightly news become more personal as faces come to mind replacing the numbers that I was once indifferent to. We have within ourselves the fruit that everyone around us needs in order to experience an eternity worth dying for. This may sound strange, but the fact is we all will experience death if Jesus decides not to come back right away. Of course, I look for Him every day, but His return is up to the Father, not me. So, I wait. But while you and I wait we can start feeding the people around us from the Tree of Life. Whether one has salvation in Jesus or not, we all will live for eternity but not all will have the eternal life the Lord would have them receive. Eternal life in the Tree of Life is the abundant life Jesus came to give us.
Over the years I have forgotten a lot of the trees I had once been able to identify by bark and leaf. But the Tree of Life should never escape my memory, nor yours either. Share this great tree today with someone you know because in the end, it is THE TREE WE ALL NEED TO EAT FROM.
This is Pastor Pat FROM BEHIND THE PEN—wishing you Joy in Jesus.