By Their Fruit You Will Know Them is an excerpt from Richard’s Story, the biography I wrote about my dad, a simple, not-well-educated man who left a lot of fruit behind when he went home to his Lord.
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 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…Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. (Matthew 7:15-20, 24-27 NKJV)
These are the words of Jesus and, by the standard he set forth, Richard was the real deal. Not only was the righteous fruit of the Holy Spirit evident in his life, but he knew without a shadow of doubt from whom his strength came. From the moment of his salvation, he never ceased to give credit to God for all the He had done. And, as the scripture says, when the storms of life came in any form it was Jesus, the rock of his salvation, in whom he trusted and his house did not fall—even in the face of terminal cancer he marched ahead with peace and joy until he stepped through the gates of eternity where, along with his Lord and his beloved family, he waits for our arrival.
Among the collection of old letters is one dated November 21, 1976; it was from a man who had been Richard’s roommate in the hospital for several days. He was an elderly Jewish man who obviously lived in a circle totally different than Richard’s; a man undoubtedly more wealthy and more educated. Yet none of that mattered for he was a man whose life was touched by Richard’s love and compassion—certainly, he departed this life long ago and, aside from Leota, none of us would probably even know who he was. But, his words (and gift) undoubtedly echo the sentiments of many others as he expressed his gratitude.
Just a small token of appreciation to a stranger who became a friend, and who with kindness and understanding helped me through the most painful several days that I have experienced in all my eighty-five years. I can now walk around the yard but the doctor says it will be many weeks before my cure will be complete. I hope your ear continues to improve to a point where it no longer bothers you.
With Kindest Regards,
Claire S Newberry
P.S. Should the sweater not be the right size the country club pro shop will make an exchange.
How often do we hear non-believers complain about a church that is full of hypocrites? Well, if we’re honest, that is often true. Very few people carry their faith over from Sunday morning into their daily lives. But Richard did—what you saw was what you got; and his kids, grandkids and great grandkids are fortunate to have had such an example set before them; such a heritage of faith.