Tag Archives: materialism

Inspect the Fruit

Perhaps Joel Osteen and Kenneth Copeland don’t know Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…” (Matthew 6:19).  Maybe they don’t believe it, or somehow think it doesn’t apply to them.  But they are not the only ones who have failed to take Jesus seriously.  All their followers also ignore the seriousness of Jesus’ teaching – specifically these warnings:

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  (Matthew 7:15)

Jesus knew there would always be con-artists who would take advantage of the gullible.  That’s why He said “Watch out!”   But how can we know who is legit and who is a fake?  Jesus said to look to see their fruit:

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.   (Matthew 7:16-18)

Just as apples naturally grow from apple trees, multimillion dollar mansions appear for a person who serves money and not God (Matthew 6:24).  Luxury automobiles, jets and expensive clothing naturally the one with an overblown ego.  Deceit and corruption are the natural fruit of a life more characterized by greed than charity.  Jesus says “Don’t be fooled!”  This kind of discernment does not contradict Jesus’ command, “Do not judge.” (Matthew 7:1)   We are not told to look down on these people, or presume to condemn them to Hell.  We are told to recognize that they are bad apples and watch out for them.

The most obvious “bad fruit” from these “false prophets” is that they disregard Jesus’ warning about what happens to such people:

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 7:19)

If they don’t believe those words of Jesus, why should you believe anything they tell you about Jesus?  Don’t be fooled!  Check the fruit!

 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matthew 7:20)

Don’t Settle for Stuff

A very loving, generous and wealthy man invites you to come live with him as though you were a member of his family.  If you take him up on his offer, you can occupy one of the homes on his country estate, eat his food, and use his stuff.  You can ride his horses, race his ATV’s, swim in his pool, sail his boats; it’s all available to you.  Why?  Just because he loves you like a natural child.  He wants to wrap you into his family.

I know, I know, it’s not likely, but just humor me for a few lines here.

 You take him up on his offer and move in.  For awhile it is wonderful, but eventually you become discontent.  You would like different food, a faster ATV, more expensive horses.  And you really would like to own a few of these things.  Or a lot of them…    So, you watch for opportunities to steal from this man.  You are not caught – at least he doesn’t say anything about  your theft – but now you don’t really like to see him anymore.  It makes you feel bad to be with him. But you love your stuff.  It makes you feel superior.  You go to town and brag about how much you have.  Now others are envious of you and that makes you proud.   

Who would do such a thing?  Anyone, John says, who becomes dissatisfied with what he has and obsessed with getting more and better stuff.  Anyone, says John, who forgets the love and generosity of God who blessed him with everything he ever had – including life itself.  Anyone, says John, who thinks better stuff makes him more important.  Here’s how he said it:

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.  (1 John 2:15-16)

When someone ignores the One Who invited him (or her) to live in His “estate” and focuses instead on getting better stuff, he loses his love for his Father.  He trades in his relationship with his loving Father for a bunch of stuff.  That may sound like no big deal, until you realize that he also has traded in life for death.  John says:

The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:17)

There’s a story in Genesis about a guy named Esau, who gave up his birthright as the firstborn son so he could have something to eat (Genesis 25:34).  He could have had it all forever, but he exchanged his place in his father’s family for a temporary helping of stuff.  Dumb.  Don’t settle for stuff instead of life.  Jesus taught this principle with these words:

Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”  (John 6:27)

For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:33)

Don’t settle for stuff.