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Daily Devotional for October 4

October 4                                                     Matthew 7:13-21

As children we are quick to learn that if something tastes bad
we should spit it out. Once we've bitten into a rotten apple,
we're slow to try fruit again. Perhaps that's why false prophets
seem so despicable: because of their bad fruits, too many of
us have chosen to go hungry.

But we mustn't let one bad apple keep us from enjoying
Christ's abundance. Pardon the mixed fruit, but if we'd never
tasted lemons, could we really appreciate the sweetness of

Bible commentator William Barclay provides a few good
pointers for successful fruit picking. Good fruit comes from
church leaders whose interest lies in those they're leading, bad
fruit from leaders whose main concern is self. If the leader
teaches in order to gain money and prestige or to espouse per-
sonal views, the fruit will be foul.

Barclay advises us to "go to another tree" if the teachings
exclude certain groups of people from Christ, if the teachings
separate religion from life, or if they seem too easy. We also
are told to be wary of teachings that dwell on outward appear-
ances and those that offer only prohibitions.¹

Sounds like the guy knows his fruit. After all, it's the fruit,
not the trees, that we're interested in. A final note about
religious produce: the fruit is always there, and it doesn't take
a degree in agriculture to know if it tastes good.

     Dear God, help us to be wise enough to recognize
    the wolves among our religious leaders. Help us to
     know who would lead us astray to gain power and
    money for themselves. Help us to be brave enough
        to continue our search for your good fruit even
             when the dangers seem so great. Amen.

¹Adapted from THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, Volume I (Revised Edition).
Translated with an Introduction and Interpretation by William Barclay. Copyright
@ 1975 William Barclay. Adapted and used by permission of Westminster/John
Knox Press. (pp. 286-288)

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.1989


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