Please don't refresh this page.
We are submitting all your information.

This takes few seconds.
It will redirect after submission.

Bad Fruit, Good Fruit

Bad Fruit, Good Fruit
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.”
Luke 6:43

Lemonade. Lemon sauce. Lemon pie. Lemon wedges in water. Lemon slices on fish. We had a bumper crop of lemons! 

A couple months before we were to leave for a short furlough in the U.S., our lemon tree exploded with lemons. Day after day, we picked, squeezed, and savored lemons from our tree. Sunny and fresh, the lemon juice added a welcome, happy tang to our meals. 

We lived in a small house, in a small town in northern Uganda, in the top corner of the country where Uganda, South Sudan, and the DR Congo meet. A moderate-sized yard, dotted with mango trees, coffee trees, and frangipani trees, encircled our house. One, sole lemon tree stood strong and vibrant. What a blessing to have fresh mangoes during mango season! What a joy to watch the dainty white flowers blossom on the coffee trees then harvest and roast the coffee beans! How lovely to inhale the sweet scent of the frangipani trees!  

We packed up for furlough and left the house, yard, and trees in the expert care of one of our employees. Manu was gifted in growing things and guarding things. We had no doubt he’d do an excellent job while we were in the U.S.  

I walked around the yard, took a last loving look at our faithful trees, said a teary goodbye to Manu, and joined my husband and kids, already waiting in the car. We drove to the airport, flew to the U.S., enjoyed a short furlough, and, when it was time, looked forward to returning to our small house in the small town in the top corner of Uganda. As is often the case, I loved being “at home” in the U.S. but was ready to be back “at home” where we served with our mission. 

When we arrived, I cast a quick glance around the yard. As expected, Manu had done a great job taking care of everything. The house and yard looked well-kept. The mango trees, coffee trees, and frangipani trees all looked healthy.  But something looked different. The lemon tree! What had happened to the lemon tree? An empty patch of dry dirt was all that was left. 

After greeting Manu and catching up on family news and town news, I thanked him for taking such good care of everything. Then, I broached the question of the missing lemon tree. 

“And the lemon tree, Manu? It seems to be gone.” 

“Yes, I cut it down.” 

“Hmmm. You cut it down?”

“Yes, it was bad.” 

And that was that. No more lemonade or lemon pie. No happy tang to liven up our fish. I had a hard time hiding my disappointment and confusion. Manu patiently explained so I would better understand why he did what he did. As an expert and experienced gardener, he saw evidence that the tree had become diseased. If the tree was bad, there would be no fruit and the disease could spread to and damage other trees. He poignantly summed it up: 

“Bad tree. Bad fruit. Good tree. Good fruit.” 

The empty spot where the lemon tree once stood, became a daily, visual reminder of Luke 6:43.

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.” Luke 6:43 

Closing Prayer
Heavenly Father, cleanse my heart. May my thoughts, words, and actions be free from disease. May you help me stand strong and happy as I’m nourished by your Word. May the Holy Spirit help me bear much fruit for God’s glory and the good of others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Question for Reflection

Are there fruit trees where you live? If not, what fruit tree would you love to have in your front yard?

Karen Bradley
March 20, 2023

I currently live in the US near Chicago, so we don’t have tropical fruit trees in our yard. But I would love to have a mango tree!