by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
The Prince of Peace, the Son of David, was announced by Isaiah. The story of his coming was proclaimed by the evangelists, each with a different emphasis. Jesus made God's kingship real in this world. Today, the kingdom is here—and it is coming.
"The man with two tunics should share ... the one who has food should do the same ... don't extort money." (Luke 3:11, 14).
People are always inclined to think that they are entitled to a place in God's kingdom, simply because they belong to the right race or to the best church. "We have Abraham as our father," they say. Or, "My family have been faithful members of this denomination for two hundred years."
But God isn't impressed with our credentials. As John the Baptizer would put it: God's ax will cut down every fruitless tree, no matter what name you give it.
Prophet John gave some practical advice to the crowd in general and to tax collectors and soldiers in particular. All people must learn to share, he said. Tax collectors may not be greedy, and soldiers may not abuse their power.
The general law behind John's advice is one all believers should be familiar with: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Everyone must begin his or her converted life by applying that general but radical law to life and circumstances.
God's Word speaks to us of unimaginable heavenly riches. But we will never get into the really big things unless we start with the nickels-and-dimes-stuff. If we want to please God, we'd better begin by practicing love for fellow human beings. That's the a-b-c of biblical religion.
Fruitless trees are human lives that live by themselves, for themselves, and unto themselves. The practice of selfishness is familiar to every sinful human being. Either we refine the art of selfishness when we grow up, or we are converted.
Only converted people are fruit-bearing trees.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version