Monday, February 22, 2010


A question came up at Bible study last night about why Jesus was so annoyed with a fig tree that he cursed it (Mark 11:13-23). Doesn't this strike you as rather extreme? It appears the Lord lost his cool, but obviously (considering the source) it was the right thing to do! A parable from yesterday's Bible reading sheds light on the question:

The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown. - Mark 4:14-20
Our goal as Christians is to be fruitful; what's more, fruitfulness is a perfectly (indeed the ONLY) reasonable expecation. The idea that a good seed could be planted in fertile soil, that the resulting plant could be properly tended by an expert gardner, allowed to develop a deep root system, with few weeds to compete for sun and nutrients -- for that particular plant not to bear fruit is unthinkable!

You and I are like well-tended plants, in a position to be fruitful and productive in garden tended by God's own hand. We do NOT want to be like the fig tree mentioned in Mark 11, which looked from a distance like a fruitful specimen (turns out the leaves and the fruit come out simultaneously on a fig tree, so the presence of leaves should have indicated fruit, as well). Back to the question of Jesus' annoyance with that tree, yes, it was justified. Each cluster of lush leaves should have contained a delectable fig.

Lord forbid that we should be found worthless and barren of fruit in our privileged lives where we're tended by excellent teaching, and our root networks have access to all kinds of resources to utilize and share. I pray the Lord will give us vision, motivaiton, and power to do all that comes naturally to fruitful plants without agonizing or overthinking our productivity in the "food chain." God bless you per Isaiah 55:10-11 -- with sun and rain (or snow) today, and with fruit in abundance, just as God promises. God bless you in the reading of his Word!

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