Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sea Holly: You Will Recognize Them By Their Fruit

The Sea Holly (Eryngium planum) is an amazingly showy thistle-like plant – adorned with steel-blue stems and petals from June to September, this 30" tall plant can quickly become a main conversation piece in most any garden. It is truly stunning to look at; in a different sense, it is also stunning to touch.

Jesus compared the thistle to a false prophet in his Sermon on the Mount. I find that the Sea Holly with its thistle-like appearance is an excellent example of this metaphor:
15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits." (Matthew 7:15-20 ESV)

This brilliant blue color is rarely found in the landscape; that is why I purchased them for the Gethsemane Prayer Garden. They are just like false prophets, for deception is one of their the main characteristics.

Look closely at the fruit!

This fruit must be very carefully touched. All over the plant are very sharp needles that have only one purpose: to hurt. Even the deer stay away all year long, for this "tree" bears bad fruit.

Adjacent to the Sea Holly in the prayer garden is a beech tree which can be seen with its soft fur-covered nuts. These are good fruit for they come from a good tree. I believe Jesus would have called the Sea Holly "a bad tree" because it bears bad fruit.

Please allow me to ask a question: "According to the above Bible text, how do you recognize a false prophet?" I must admit that the answer to that question, based on these verses from Matthew, broadened my understanding of what a false prophet is. Inwardly they are like ravenous wolves; outwardly they produce bad fruit.

But also understand the implications: if a child is not showing evidence of being good fruit, that does not mean that either the child or the parent is going to be thrown in the fire. The factor of time also plays a part as does the power of prayer and the power of appropriate parenting. The value of the fruit may turn out good as it moves towards maturity.