From the Heart

From the Heart

Key Text: Luke 6:43-45

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

I believe one of the most important things we can do as people is be genuine. You know, to be the “real deal” and to “say what you mean and mean what you say.” Though those may be clichés, they get at the heart of what Jesus is talking about in this Scripture.

In Scripture, the heart is much more than a functional organ. It is the core of a person, body and soul. And it is from the heart, according to Jesus, that either good or evil springs.

Using an example from nature, something his hearers would have readily understood, Jesus speaks of how a good tree can’t bear bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t bear good fruit – simple enough. Then he goes on, as they would say in the country, and “stops preaching and starts meddling.”

He talks about the people – he talks about us – and challenges us – asking in effect “Which one are you?”

Perhaps, if we are honest, we would admit that we are a little bit of both.

Jesus doesn’t let us off the hook though. He challenges us to become better, to become more like him, and do all we can to speak from the heart things that are life-giving and nourishing and good.

Evil is real and powerful but we can, with God’s help, choose to be bearers of good fruit that help balance things out.

Let your heart speak this week. Let it bring forth good, ripe, rich, spiritual fruit. Nourish someone in need, in God’s name.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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