By Dr. Michael Layne
---- — Matthew 7:20: “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
The last year my grandmother planted a garden was 1965. Now, this wasn’t just a little patch of ground with a few items, it was a large garden and as a teenager that was going to have to weed it, I wasn’t a bit happy about the size of it.
We planted four rows of sweet corn, four rows of pole beans, four rows of potatoes along with some lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and 52 cabbages. Yes, 52 of them!
A friend gave her some packets of seeds that had been purchased in bulk, and since she wanted to can pickles that year, there was a packet of cucumber seeds. We hilled them up. When they began to grow, the vines were very nice looking and then the blooms came on and she just knew she was going to have a wonderful harvest of cucumbers to make pickles.
Of course, the next step would be the produce from the vines and when they started maturing, not a one of them was a cucumber. They were muskmelons! It sure had us fooled. The seeds looked like cucumbers, the vines and blooms looked like cucumbers, but they were not.
Needless to say, my grandmother was not a happy person about this. On the other hand, I had a great time with the melons from our cucumber patch.
Our scripture says, “You will know them by the fruit they bear.” This applies to every human, and in particular, to every person who says they are a Christian.
You can go to church on Sunday morning, sing the hymns, pray the prayers, go through the motions and appear to be a Christian, but what about life outside the church building?
Are we being productive as Christians? Are we sharing good news? Are we doing good deeds? Do we go the extra mile when needed? Salvation is more than just by faith; it also includes what we do in this life.
There is no way we can buy our way into Heaven, but we must be productive believers and find ways to do good things in this life. James 2:24: “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”
We may have the finest church in town and we may be life members, but I do hope we don’t stop at that junction of the journey. There is so much more to living for Christ than just saying we do.
The Christian life is interactive. In other words there is need for participation in some form. After all, the scripture says, “Faith without works is dead.” Come alive and know that God loves you.
The Most Rev. Michael Layne, PhD, ThD, is a Bishop in the Lutheran Orthodox Church and can reached at 812-614-2160 or firstname.lastname@example.org and, can be followed at www.doclayne.com.