The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225


Church of Christ




Nature Speaks

"Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh." (Jas.3:11-12).

Here in NJ along the coast, the rivers feed into the bays and ocean. As you travel upstream from the ocean along a river, the salinity of the river changes. The further up river you go, the less salty the water becomes and we refer to this "semi-salty" water as brackish. Eventually, if you go far enough inland, the water becomes totally fresh. It is against a backdrop like this that James teaches us about wisdom, allowing nature to speak...Wisdom has parted company with those who are content to spew out words of bitterness and strife (fresh and bitter water?) instead of those of thoughtfulness and praise. A great lesson is imparted here that all of us must heed. The people I just talked about are like a spring that sends out wonderful fresh water, while at the same time producing a salty brine. If this is not a classic contradiction of terms. we may never have seen one. It is just as contradictory when a man or woman speaks kindly one moment, and with anger the next. Wisdom is just not compatible with with a double-minded person like this... James turns from this lesson of nature to one that an agrarian society would surely understand. Figs, grapes and olives were important farm products in this area, and James was quick to point out that a fig tree produces figs, and a vine produces grapes. He makes the same point that his brother Jesus made when He said this; "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit" (Matt.7:17). Later Jesus said this; "You brood of vipers. How can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart" (Matt.12:34). James summarizes this teaching with this clear assertion; "Nor can salt water produce fresh..." A person who slices and dices with their tongue, will have a difficult time convincing those around him that he is a Christian with pure values and motives. He'll be like a fig tree producing grapes, or a spring putting out both salt and fresh water... Nature speaks, we listen....

Have a great day... Do good and give God all the credit.... Love mark Phil.4:11

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