Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Luke 6:43-45 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: You might find yourself asking, “What does Jesus mean by good fruit and bad fruit?” “What does He mean by a healthy tree or an unhealthy tree? If you go back and read Luke 6, you’ll find that He actually explains what makes a tree healthy or sick.
Jesus states that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath and to save life or preserve life rather than destroy it. Healthy trees use Sabbath to do good (Luke 6:9).
Jesus says that healthy trees aren’t always living perfect lives. They might struggle, mourn, be rejected for His name, or not have a lot of wealth, but they are blessed just the same (Luke 6:20-26).
Jesus reminds us that healthy trees love people, even those who are hard to love. Even those who are enemies. He says good trees bless the people who curse them and pray for those who treat them poorly. Healthy trees don’t love in order to be loved back; love just flows out of them naturally (Luke 6:27-28).
Jesus affirms that healthy trees don’t fight back. If someone were to hit them, they wouldn’t strike back but would instead turn the other cheek. Nasty remarks are not repaid with more nasty remarks. Healthy trees give to others and then give even more (Luke 6:29-30).
Jesus reveals that healthy trees treat everyone in the way they would like to be treated. They treat everyone equally and don’t keep a scorecard detailing who deserves to be treated a little better or worse (Luke 6:31).
Jesus says healthy trees go above and beyond average trees. They love the unlovable. They love the people who don’t love them (Luke 6:32-35).
Jesus says that healthy trees are merciful (Luke 6:36).
Jesus shows us that healthy trees are not judgmental. They do not point out the faults in others but instead spend time in reflection on their own struggles (Luke 6:37,41-42).
Take an inventory of your life. As I read over Luke Chapter 6, I am forced to see what it really means to be a healthy tree bearing good fruit. Are you living up to these expectations of a healthy tree?
Recalibrate: What metrics do you use to determine whether or not your life is healthy?
Respond: Ask God to give you a heart for others—a heart filled with love and compassion for all people.
Research: What are the characteristics of a happy, healthy life?
Remember: “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” (Luke 6:45, NIV).
Jessyka Dooley is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church, leading Live Wonder (ages 0-3), Live Adventure (ages 4-11), and Live Purpose (ages 12-17), along with their supporting ministries. She grew up in Washington State and has a degree in theology from Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. Jessyka has served in various areas of ministry, but her passion for discipling kids has taken center stage in her career.
Place several different-sized bowls outside or on the floor in a tray. Fill a bucket with water or allow the tap to drip slowly so your little one can fill up a cup and pour the water into containers. God’s love for us never runs out. Jesus says in our text for today that we should save up good in our hearts. Fill your heart and your little one’s heart with the unconditional love that God pours out on you in Jesus’ name.
Play a game of mix-and-match. If you don’t have a mix-and-match game, cut some pictures out of a magazine and then cut them in half. Mix them up and create two piles of pictures. Take turns selecting a piece from each pile and putting them together. How weird do the pictures look when they do not match? Jesus says that we should save up good things in our hearts. Why do you think He tells us to do this? What are good things to store in our hearts?
How weird would it be if you went to an apple orchard and found a bunch of oranges? From when I was between the ages of 4 and 6, my mother attended Andrews University in Southwestern Michigan. One of my favorite memories from that time was living right next to a large apple orchard. I would spend whole afternoons exploring the apple trees. Not one time did I ever find an orange in any of those trees! A tree is known by the fruit it bears. If it bears something different, we rightly question if that tree is really the tree we thought it was. When I was in eighth grade, a friend of mine said, “Kyle! You claim to be a Christian, but no one would ever know it!” Ouch. But he was right. My fruit did not match my tree. If people were to look at your life, would they see a person whose actions match what they claim to be?