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The same fruit

The same fruit

Something to read

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ …But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance.’

- Matthew 3:1-2, 7-8.

Something to think about

A friend of mine once confided how they were struggling with the behaviour of their boss.  The whole team worked hard on various projects and made a positive impact with their work, but the boss didn’t like to get his hands too dirty in the graft. He would, however, always appear at the up-and-running project for a handshake and a photo with the press.

I wonder if it’s this sort of hypocritical behaviour that John the Baptist saw when some of the religious leaders came forward for baptism. All kinds of ordinary people were coming to John to hear his preaching; they responded with a humble turning away from their sins and were baptised. Perhaps John saw that the Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t plan to do the same as the people they led, coming only for the baptism ‘photo opportunity’ without actually doing the work of repentance and changing their lives.

As a preacher (and as a writer of Bible reflections!) it’s a trap I need to watch out for. When any of us teach, lead or help people grow in living out their faith, we need to be careful that our own lives are bearing the same fruit we hope to see in others.

Something to do

Consider how you are a role model, teacher or example – perhaps you invite others to support Christian Aid, for instance! Whatever it is that you encourage others to do, resolve to put it into practice more fully in your own life.

Something to pray

Forgive me, loving God, for the times I have acted hypocritically and held others to standards I’m not prepared to keep myself. Give me humility and grace, that I would grow day by day alongside all those I seek to lead and serve. Amen.

Today’s contributor is Rev Claire Jones