What are You on the Inside?

What are you on the inside? 

Jesus said in Matthew 6:16, “Beware of false prophets…you will know them by their fruits.” 

In Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where my family and I lived several years ago, we rented a house with several different kinds of fruit trees in the yard. There were avocados, papaya, tamarind, lemon trees, and one that the owner said was guayaba (guava). It had never born fruit and he wanted the first fruit from it. It almost died with the previous tenant, so I got a lecture on how hard it had been to get started and how wonderful guayaba fruit is. I crumpled one of its leaves that very moment and smelled of it. It smelled like citrus, and I said as much. “No, no, no, it’s guayaba, you are to take good care of it and bring me the very first fruit from it.” “Yes sir” was the only acceptable answer! 

I hired a gardener to come one day a week and care for that tree…and the rest of the yard too if he had time! A few months later the tree bloomed for the first time in its life. Then fruit appeared…little green balls at first…then they got bigger and bigger. I had never seen a guayaba, so was excited as it matured before my very eyes and turned yellow, about the size of a softball. I picked the first one and took it to him when I paid my rent that month. The owner took one look and said, “I’ve been deceived! That is a grapefruit tree!” Sure enough, I cut it open (promising him that it had come off his “guayaba” tree) smelled and tasted it then and there. All he would say was “I was deceived, it is grapefruit.” It was good grapefruit, but that’s not what he paid for and cared for the last few years. Few guayaba trees existed in that area, but grapefruit were a dime a dozen. 

Recently I needed to identify the boards from a dead tree I had cut. I asked several people what kind of wood it was. No one knew. I resorted to a google search and was enlightened to find that the best way, maybe only sure way to identify the wood is to identify the tree, which is easiest determined from the leaves and from the bark. I suspected it was Pecan, so I asked some of the “old-timers” (people my age or older). No one remembered ever seeing any pecans on the tree, but someone mentioned those long bean-like things hanging from it. What little bark that was left confirmed that it was a Catalpa tree. 

Jesus said, “by their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20). My landlord took only a heartbeat to identify his supposed guyaba tree as grapefruit instead of the prized guyaba tree, once we had the fruit. It only took a little while to identify our boards once we know about its “fruit.” 

And I’ve known people like that. I’m thinking of more than a few I’ve met over the years that once I got to know them…as I saw their fruit… they were different than the first impression. I think of some tropical fruit we had in Bolivia. One looked so appealing…it was an orange that grew wild, but was worse than bitter when you tasted it. Then there was the Chirimoya. It looked terrible. You’d think you’d never put that in your mouth, but it tasted better than ice cream! 

How is your life? What’s on the inside will sooner or later show up on the outside. What kind of person are you?