"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."
"I'm coming there to make a difference. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't believe in this project. This could create something that we've all never seen before," said England soccer superstar David Beckham after signing a five-year, $250 million contract with Major League Soccer's L.A. Galaxy. With Beckham's soccer career in what is likely its final few years, time will tell if this move will prove to be fruitful for the Galaxy and for MLS.
In the world of sports, competitors who "bear good fruit" are rewarded (until they no longer bear good fruit), and those who don't are thrown out. Think about how many coaches and athletes have had one or two great years accompanied with fame and notoriety and then fade off into the distance when they no longer produce. I don't need to name names. I'm sure you can think of a handful off the top of your head.
In Luke 13:6-9, to illustrate the need for repentance (v.5), Jesus tells a story about a man who had a fig tree in his vineyard that was not producing fruit. The man told the caretaker to cut down the tree, but the caretaker asked for one more year to work with the tree and if it didn't produce fruit after that then they could cut it down. The point is that those who produce no fruit (or bad fruit), giving proof of a lack of true repentance, will face God's judgment. It's not that our good fruit saves us, it simply gives evidence that we are saved.
While in sport we eventually see our good fruit diminish over time, in Christ our production of good fruit over the long haul gives confirmation of our claims to be Christians.
"This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples" (John 15:8).
1. As a competitor, how have you seen/experienced disapproval as a result of not producing?
2. What fruit do you see in your life that gives evidence of your relationship with Jesus Christ? (Be specific; walking through the church doors once a week doesn't count.)