“He replied, ‘Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.'” —Matthew 15:13
I saw the strangest thing the other day on the way to visit mom. There was a field full of uprooted orange trees. My heart was heavy.
I had to pull over. As the sun was setting, I looked at the trees and questioned why they were uprooted. Construction was going on nearby. Perhaps someone bought the field and didn’t want the fruit, but was there any good fruit?
I had noticed the field before. There were oranges on the trees but they didn’t look as though they could (or should) produce fruit. Perhaps they were diseased. I began to examine myself. Am I producing fruit? If so, am I producing good fruit?
In the verse mentioned above, Jesus was referring to the Pharisees who were offended by Jesus’ teaching about what defiles the body (Matt. 15:11). Jesus went on to say, “Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit” (v. 14).
The disciples didn’t understand the parable and asked Jesus to explain it. Jesus asked them, “are you still so dull?” (v. 16).
Ouch. The truth of the matter is that what is not of God, will not last. It will be uprooted. Sometimes all something—someone—needs is a little pruning, painful as it might be, but often the roots go deep and must be removed completely, but there is hope . . .
The uprooting, the removal of what is dead, and the tilling of the soil leaves opportunity for regrowth—rebirth. Ecclesiastes says there is “a time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted” (Ecc. 3:2). Sometimes the old must go so the new can come. Bad trees can’t produce good fruit, but new trees can.
As I sat there looking at the damage before me, the heaviness on my heart began to lift. It was a graveyard of the old, the dead, the barren, but oh the possibilities of what’s to come! I believe we can deal with root issues in our lives such as anger, unforgiveness, negativity, rejection, and ungratefulness that may be causing us to be barren, so we can have fresh soil to plant new seeds, grow new roots, develop new mindsets, and blossom with fruits of the Spirit. Can you see the orange grove now?