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The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls. ~Proverbs 11:30 NASB

According to well-known researcher George Barna, most Christians do tell others about having a relationship with God. In a 2005 study, Survey Shows How Christians Share Their Faith, Barna reported:

One of the key findings of the research was that a slight majority of born again adults – 55% – claimed to have shared their faith in Christ with a non-Christian during the prior 12 months. That figure has remained relatively constant during the past decade.

Proverbs 11:30 makes it clear that believers who tell others the good news of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ are wise. How might those who fail to share the Gospel be described? The Book of Proverbs contains many verses where the wise are contrasted with fools – perhaps an appropriate term for those who hide a light under a bushel.

So why does this verse begin by discussing “the fruit of the righteous?” A “tree of life” grew in the Garden of Eden, according to Genesis 2:9. And a “tree of life” re-appears in scripture in Revelation 22, as the apostle John describes his vision of the New Jerusalem. In both cases, it is associated with eternal life in fellowship with God.

In Matthew 7:16-20 , Jesus discusses this same concept in greater detail:

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

The righteous are recognized by what they do to lead others to God’s kingdom. 2 Corinthians 5:20 sums up our role well:

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

You will interact today with people whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Will your conversations be wise, or foolish?

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