Weather Alert:

Church programs for Monday, Jan. 22 will resume their normal schedule at all locations this evening.

Programming Note:

Leawood’s Sunday night in-person worship has been moved to 4 pm for Sunday, February 11. 

Close this search box.

Good and bad show different sources

September 8, 2022

Daily Scripture

James 3:11-12

11 Both freshwater and saltwater don’t come from the same spring, do they? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree produce olives? Can a grapevine produce figs? Of course not, and fresh water doesn’t flow from a saltwater spring either.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Like Jesus, James used the farming products familiar to most anyone who lived in first-century Palestine for illustration. “Figs, olives and grapes were the three most common agricultural products of the Judean hills, and alongside wheat and barley they would have constituted the most common crops of the Mediterranean region as a whole.” * And a valued water source, like Jacob’s famous well, didn’t unexpectedly fill your bucket with undrinkable salt water.

  • James again echoed a theme Jesus often taught about. “Jesus had pointed out that what comes out of the mouth is a sign of what is really there, deep in the heart (Matthew 12.34; Luke 6.43). James echoes this passage when he speaks of the fig tree bearing olives or the vine bearing figs. Things just aren’t like that!” ** Sometimes we try to explain angry words by saying, “That’s just the way I am.” On closer scrutiny, what makes that excuse weak and sobering?
  • Like his brother and Lord, even James’ warnings were meant to redeem. N. T. Wright saw what James was after: “He wants people to follow Jesus through and through, to be blessing-only people rather than blessing-and-cursing people….The spring must be cleansed so that only fresh, sweet water comes out. For this we need help. That, fortunately, is what the gospel offers.” *** How close are you to being a “blessing-only” person? How can you move further in that direction?

Lord Jesus, cleanse the spring of my heart, so that when I speak or write only “fresh, sweet water comes out.” Keep scrubbing bitterness and anger out of my inner being. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of  Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie serves as the Student Discipleship Program Director with Resurrection Students. She has nearly 20 years of volunteer and professional ministry experience and loves walking alongside and encouraging others in their spiritual journey. Mikiala is blessed to be an adoptive aunt and godmother to many kiddos and lives with her 10-pound Yorkie, KiKi Okoye Tennie.

The other day one of my friends from small group celebrated our milestone of completing a book we’d been working through since 2020 by sending all of us charcuterie fixins and dessert. I love a good charcuterie board because it brings together so many different items that don’t come from the same source. Not only are the items spread out all over the grocery store, but they wouldn’t even be found near each other in nature—that’s just not how things work. That’s why I love when grocery stores make it easy for me and put all the typical charcuterie fixins in one easy to find section. The true source of where all the meats, cheeses, fruits, and nuts come from is the last thing on my mind because someone somewhere has already done the work to make my charcuterie board presentation delicious.

In James 3:11-12 Jesus shows us that there’s much that goes on behind the scenes in order to get a specific food product. You can’t plant a fig tree and expect olives. You can’t grow grapes and then hope for figs. If you want all of those things to eventually end up on your charcuterie board, there’s got to be significant work behind the scenes to make sure the right seeds are planted way in advance.

The same is true in our lives. We can’t expect who we are in the world to be positive, loving, kind, and helpful…if we have not put in the work and planted the proper seeds that coincide with those character traits. To attempt to present a life full of love when all that’s been planted this week is hate-filled Facebook comments is to expect figs on a grapevine. To attempt to present a helping hand when all that’s been planted this week is self-centeredness is to expect olives on a fig tree. It just can’t be done.

What are you planting, producing, and presenting? Let’s do the proper work behind the scenes so that what we have to offer is a delightful character “charcuterie board.”

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Comment on James 3:12 in NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook . Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
** Wright, N. T., Early Christian Letters for Everyone (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 22). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Kindle Edition.
*** Ibid.