“Whoever is wicked covets the spoil of evildoers, but the root of the righteous bears fruit.” – Prov 12:12
I’m sure you’ve seen the sad people who seem to have minds for nothing but accounting. They’re always sizing other people up, doing the mental math, calculating, dividing, nodding and measuring, all for the purpose of comparison. Truth be told, we’re all those people, unless God does something in our hearts. The contrast in this Proverb is between the wicked and the righteous person. That’s a status that only Jesus changes when you trust Him.
The righteous person has a root. That root is a living, growing, thriving organism, one that is continually bearing fruit. The root is a picture of the Holy Spirit, working in those who belong to God, to produce and display a work or a product which is not only beautiful and healthy, but something that actually benefits others. That’s what a righteous person looks like, from the outside. The fruit is the manifestation, the outward completed effect of the life of God, growing inside you.
The wicked person also has an outward, manifestation and effect from his life. It’s coveting. He looks, he wants, he craves. Interestingly, there’s no counterpart, no contrast to the root of the righteous found in the wicked. What we find in the wicked is… nothing. It’s an absence, a nothingness. Instead of seeing perhaps some malformed root growing in the wicked, or some different organism, what we discover is a great black hole. Into that hole flows the coveting. He needs a ceaseless supply of fuel which feeds a bottomless blackness. The wicked person can do nothing except look around for something he can throw into his gaping chasm of energy depletion, only to find that thing disappears as fast as he throws it in there. The hole remains.
It’s not as if people apart from Jesus don’t have anything. Many times their lives are drenched with the marks of success and prosperity. But they can’t see those things. All they can do is look around, and covet. It’s a horrible existence, where there’s nothing living inside, but they still have enough werewithal to be able to look around at things others have, particularly the ill-gotten gain of evil people, and think those things will bring life into the black hole.
A life tied to Jesus, on the other hand, superabounds. Jesus calls out to whoever is thirsty, to come to Him and drink. When he drinks, then that person will himself become a fountain of living water. (Jn 7:38) When your life is connected to Christ, not only do you get your needs met and your life sustained, but you yourself become a source of life. You become a root that grows up and matures until you are bearing fruit that other people can enjoy. The life that Christ gives to us is not a one time affair. Nor is it a trickling, mournfully beeping life support system. A life lived for and surrendered to Jesus begins to flourish, thick and wide. Far from looking around hungrily to sustain your own appetites, the life that you have fills, then overflows, bringing life everywhere you go.