In Matthew 21:18-32, Jesus gave a seemingly weird illustration and example to get our attention and get us out of our complacency and pride when He cursed a fig tree. Why did He do that?
This has always perplexed me and as a youth pastor, I sometimes used it as a joke to make a point. But, in the ten years it took me to research and write an inductive commentary on Matthew, I delved into this fig tree and the answer was easy to find and quite simple and inspirational. This time of year, figs would be just forming leaves and have small, green, uneatable fruit. Apparently, this tree had nothing but leaves, displaying only self-interest. The readiness of the fruit was not the issue; it was the willingness to make the fruit, which is a very profound mirror to us and our churches. A tree that has leaves at that time of year should also have fruit, even though it would not be ready to eat. It was cursed because it refused to produce. This tree promised, but did not deliver; it was just a display having no real intention, impact, or worth.
In this passage, the emphasis is for us not to doubt or to hold back, lest we lose out on what is best for us and those around us!
This is exactly what Jesus wants us to get for our lives; we must be fruitful; and we do this by immersing ourselves in His Word.
Consider this: making leaves is essential for a tree, especially an evergreen; but, unless it also produces fruit, a fruit tree is useless. We are meant to be fruit trees for our Lord! The fig tree only cared about itself, whereas the other fig trees produced fruit before their leaves. We need to take a deep look into our lives and see ourselves as God sees us.
Perhaps you can consider yourself as a tree; are your roots strong and healthy? That is, are you being fed, then carrying His nutrients to all the parts of your being? Is your trunk strong?
That is, how is your relationship with Christ? Are your branches supporting the nests of birds? That is, are you nurturing and exhibiting good character, being useful to others? Are your leaves healthy and strong? That is, how is your personality and disposition? Do you attract people or are you revolting to them? And, are you producing fruit or just leaves? If you are not in the Word, none of this will work (Matt. 7:15-20; 1 Pet. 4: 1-11; 2 Pet. 1:1-11)!
Leaves are essential, but the leaves are only good for that plant, not for others. Fruit is to be harvested and shared. Is your faith real so it makes a difference to you and others around you?
We must make sure that our lives are not just about the care of ourselves, but the care of others as well. If you think this is too hard, consider and take comfort in the fact that He will not give us anything we cannot handle! So, let us live with excellence, being our best for His glory! We can be a good tree or a bad one. Your church can produce fruit to nourish and impact others, or give out rotten fruit that will discourage and repulse all those in your neighborhood. Faith is the key to allow your determination and His call to move you. Be willing to be led by the truth of His Word, and by your faith and trust in Him (Phil 2:10-13; 4:8-9; Heb. 2:10; 11:1).
Filed under: Bible Issues, Pastors | Tagged: be fruitful, complacency, cursed a fig tree, doubt, fig tree, healthy, inductive, leaves, make the fruit, Pride, Reading in Feelings, relationship with Christ, roots strong, self-interest | 1 Comment »