Think On This
Mistaken Identity Mistaken Identity Mistaken Identity Mistaken Identity
  • What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the Lord? or, lo, they are gone because of destruction: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. - Matthew 7:16-20

We Are Revealed By Our Actions, Character And Compassion To All Those Who Surround Us.

"Cut it down! Yep, that is what I am going to do! It has been three years—ever since we moved here. That peach tree just always makes a mess, not producing anything."

Dad and mom had purchased the lake house after dad's retirement. The love of the lake and the enjoyment of having nine acres, one on which they could grow a garden, was a life long dream of theirs. Everything always had to be fresh and neat looking—reminded me of a Home and Garden magazine cover, with one exception, the old straggly peach tree dad had nurtured every year since moving there.

Every spring I heard dad's comments about how he had pruned it, sprayed and cared for it, hoping it would produce the peaches he worked so carefully to see and enjoy. The peach tree had fooled dad three years in a row. In the spring the tree would bring forth its leaves with pinkish white blossoms. The small peaches would then start to develop. After a few weeks the small green peaches would begin to shrivel, turn brown, and fall off. This was the year dad had had enough.

The tree was next to the carport at the entrance of the lake house and it was always a topic of many irritable discussions. Guests would comment about how nice it must be to have a peach tree next to the kitchen door. Dad would then have to explain why it wasn't: "Well, it looks good but we always have to rake up the old dried up peaches and burn them; it just makes a mess—never has produced one peach.

The story about the caring and the disappointments probably waxed longer than what may have been talked about if it had actually produced what was expected. One thing was for sure, dad always kept his word; this spring it had followed the same routine and it was coming down!

Dad was up and out on that early summer morning and it seemed to just be the time to do what he knew he had promised to do. He began the morning by sharpening his chain saw and gathered the necessary yard tools to take down and clean up the old peach tree, and the mess it had made once again—old shriveled dried up brown peaches not much larger than a peach seed itself.

Seems someone always came to visit just as dad or mom was about to do something and things had a way of getting put off. Frank, one of dad's old friends from the city, didn't realize it as he drove up in his car next to the old peach tree but he was just in time to watch it come down. "What are you doing Paul'?, he asked.

Dad once again gave his description of the past three years with the tree as he raked up the dried up impostors from around it. "Every year I rake them up and burn them. There isn't going to be a next year for this old tree," he exclaimed. Frank bent over, picked up one of the dried up specimens and rolled it around between his fingers and began pulling it apart as dad just kept talking with disgust about how he was tired of raking and burning the bad fruit. Frank quietly kept picking away the brown flesh from around the seed as he listened, the tips of his fingers now becoming stained with the greenish brown juice of the undeveloped fruit.

As dad continued to rake and piddle, Frank suddenly stopped the delicate peeling process, held out his hand with the exposed uncovered seed in his palm and exclaimed, "Paul, this ain't a peach tree; it's an Almond tree! No wonder it has never grown any peaches. Dad turned and called out for mom to come see what Frank had discovered.

Dad, mom and Frank began to break open more of the peach imitators to reveal beautiful sweet almonds. They all had a laugh, and, as you can imagine, dad really took a ribbing. From then on he always had a much better story to tell about that old peach, err, almond tree.

As I have discovered after doing some research, almond trees are often mistaken for peach trees—almost identical in every way, tree, blossoms, and the beginning fruit stage difficult to distinguish by a novice farmer.

For years nothing worked to make that tree produce peaches, or, to prevent dad from raking up the old dried up diseased looking fruit and burning it. It had no value; it was wasted!

As I look back on dad's experience I often think of how we are sometimes like that old almond tree. We aren't easily identified to those around us as to who we really are—sometimes even to those who are the closest to us, even to our closest friends. Who or what does it take to identify you, call you out, making you reveal who and what you really are? Will it take some unfortunate circumstance, a near death experience, like that almond tree almost experienced?

In a world of distrust, suspicion, and impostors it is important as Christians to reveal daily who we truly are—not waiting for a revealing moment but living our lives each day for Him. We should desire to be known by the life we lead and the fruit we bear—revealed to everyone for Him and His purpose.

We are revealed by our actions, character and compassion to all those who surround us. An unrevealed life is a wasted life like the misidentified almonds, benefiting no one, swept away and burned up.

Can you be identified as a Christian, living for Him to those around you: in your family, at work or in your circle of friends? If not, what do you suppose it would take to call you out, to reveal who you really are? That tree was almost cut down and no one, tragically, would have ever known its true identity.

God made each of us unique and different for a special purpose. You are what He created you to be. Will others enjoy the fruit of your life as He intended, or, will the joy you could provide to others be wasted and never identified?

As Christians, it is my prayer we will live our lives to be truly known and identified as His—fruit for His purpose.

- Author: Bill Lowery

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