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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 1, 2002

Our acts shape who we are

By Orlando Tumacder

While grocery shopping the other day, I noticed some canned juice called "Fruitworks." That name caught my attention because the Bible teaches that both fruit and works are natural outgrowths of the Christian faith. So what does the Bible say about them?

Jesus stated that a tree is known by its fruit. In other words, we can identify a tree by the fruit it bears. An orange tree will bear oranges. Likewise, a Christian is expected to bear spiritual fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These traits should be exhibited at all times, toward all people. In fact, it is when facing trying circumstances or dealing with difficult people that Christians should be most fruitful.

Fruit isn't developed overnight. A mango sapling I planted took nearly 10 years to mature and finally bears sweet Hayden mangos. So it is in our Christian walk. Growth can be slow, almost imperceptible, but in time we clearly see how much we've changed, how fruitful we have become.

Fruitfulness also refers to reproduction. God told Adam to be fruitful and multiply. Within a piece of fruit are seeds, the potential for reproducing similar fruit. In fact, some fruit contain many seeds. Christians, too, need to multiply themselves by sharing their faith. If you had good news of the Gospel, wouldn't you eagerly share it with others? Telling people about the grace of God is nothing we should be reluctant to share.

Works is faith demonstrated, not merely professed. The book of James says that if a stranger lacks food and clothes and we do nothing to meet that person's need, our faith is meaningless. Actions speak louder than words. Christians should be quick to respond to the less fortunate.

We can also be active in our churches. Too often, churchgoers let the same few assume the manifold responsibilities of church operations. Lacking the credentials to preach or teach is no excuse for non-involvement. For every member there is a role. We need to give of ourselves.

It is humbling to realize that works are not optional. In God's view there are no part-time employees and no such thing as retirement. Consider the fate of the servants in Jesus' parable who are asleep when they should have been serving their master, how harshly they were dealt with. At the same time, we need to remember that God never forgets the good things we do.

What we believe dictates our conduct. If our faith is sincere and genuine, we will eagerly do more than warm a pew on Sunday and drop a dollar in the plate. We will aspire to be fruitful. This is how we bring about change in our hearts and in our world.

Orlando Tumacder has been a lay member at Red Hill First Assembly of God for more than 20 years. Expressions of Faith is a column that welcomes submissions from pastors, priests, lay workers and other leaders in faith and spirituality. E-mail faith@honoluluadvertiser.com or call 525-8035. Articles submitted to The Advertiser may be published or distributed in print, electronic or other forms.