Reverend Tina Burgess.........................07909107404
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In the church calendar we are still in the long season of ‘Ordinary Time’, the season of growth. But at this time of the year, we are reminded that growing has a purpose. When we look around us we see the culmination of all that the farmers grow in their fields being harvested. The fruits are to be picked and the vegetables dug. There is something to show for all that patient waiting for the sun and the rain to do their work to bring the desired outcome at the end of all that growing.
Fruitfulness is expected. Anyone who grows their own produce must know how disappointing it is to have tended and watered and fed a plant which then produces nothing… there is nothing to show for your hard work and no fruit of your labour to enjoy.
In Matthew 21:18-22, we read the account of the unproductive fig tree. Jesus was walking into the city of Jerusalem, and feeling hungry, he looked for some fruit on a lone fig tree growing by the roadside. He found nothing but leaves on it. So, he cursed it and it immediately withered.
This puzzling action of Jesus led to a lesson on faith-filled prayer for the disciples and Jesus tells them that if they have faith and do not doubt, then they will not only be able to do what was done to the fig tree but they would also be able to move mountains.
That was a mighty lesson indeed, but what about the fig tree, I wondered. Why did Jesus do that?
I pondered more about the fig tree. The Bible tells us that the fig tree had nothing but leaves on it. It was a leafy fig tree. Lots of leaves but no fruit. I imagined it must have looked healthy from the outside…nice and green and bushy! I then discovered that on a fig tree, fruit appears at the same time as the leaves.
This was a tree that should have had plenty of fruit on it, as it had plenty of leaves, but Jesus found none and was not pleased.
It made me think that this can be a picture of our lives and even our church life. We can be busy doing lots of things…showing lots of leaves on the outside…but if we are not producing fruit, then our busyness is all for nothing.
As we enter into Autumn, and into what can be the busiest time of the year, I think we should keep in mind this story of the withered fig tree and apply it to our lives and ask Jesus to help us be fruitful in all our efforts to serve Him. He is looking for fruit in our lives. We can’t always see the fruit ourselves, but we can be mindful and prayerful about being intentional in our activities. Mindful about our reasons for doing what we do – are we truly seeking to glorify God in what we do or are we just doing things out of habit? And prayerful in what we do in order to hear his voice and be quick to respond to his prompting so that the Spirit can work through our words and actions to bring about his purposes in our lives and in others’ lives.
Let’s continue to grow spiritually by keeping our hearts and our minds fixed on Jesus, believing that in Him, God will bring about a fruitful harvest in our lives and in his church.
“The one who sows to his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up”. Galatians 6: 8-9