“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.
The lemons from my tree this year were dinky and dry—nothing like last year’s juicy bumper crop. Perhaps the curled leaves signaled the need for more water? Jesus says twice, “You will know them by their fruits.” Clearly, I won’t be known as a Master Gardener.
However, my lemon tree did shelter a nest that grew baby birds. You never know how God, our Master Gardener, will grow our unique gifts into good fruit that feeds others.
Jesus also warns that you can’t gather figs from thistles—or from lemon trees for that matter. The kind of fruit I bear depends on the person God has uniquely called me to be. And notice that Jesus doesn’t say that good trees produce perfect fruit.
What kind of good fruit is God calling you to produce from your unique tree? Can you be patient with God’s slow work within you?
—Diane Amento Owens is a spiritual director who encourages her directees to see the world through the lens of Ignatian spirituality.
Lord, you are my Master Gardener.
Water my being with your love and your grace
And cultivate patience within me when I expect rapid growth.
Send me rays of Son-light so that I may flourish
And produce much good fruit.
Prune away my desire for perfection
And shape me into the kind of good tree you want me to be.
May I be grateful for the unique gifts you have given me
and share them with those I meet today.
—Diane Amento Owens