Barren or Bountiful?

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One time, “Jesus was hungry. He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. Then Jesus said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat your fruit again!’” (Mark 11:12b-14a, NLT) Then the next day,“the disciples noticed [that the fig tree] had withered from the roots up.” (v. 20b) Now there are those who criticize Him for cursing the fig tree. After all, Mark himself pointed out that “there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit.” (v. 13b) So, why look for fruit when it’s not yet the season for it? They felt that if it’s the season for figs but there wasn’t any, then He can curse the tree. Wasn’t that unfair? 

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According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, “In Palestine fig trees produced crops of small edible buds in March followed by the appearance of large green leaves in early April. This early green ‘fruit’ (buds) was common food for local peasants.” So, even if it was not yet fruit season, it was just right for Jesus to look for figs since the tree was “in full leaf”. Because it had many leaves, it was just reasonable for Him to expect fruit. Sadly, “An absence of these buds despite the tree’s green foliage promising their presence indicated it would bear no fruit that year.” (Ibid) The Lord just made sure that it will never bear fruit ever again. 

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Here we see that the Lord desires fruit, not leaves, in our life and ministry. Activity does not always mean achievement. Through the cursing of the fig tree, the Lord is teaching us that we can be so busy (and tired) with church activities (“leaves”) and yet still fail to bear the fruit He is looking for. We can be busy and yet not be fruitful. I’m not saying that church activities are wrong per se. But if they are the end by themselves, it could even keep us from fruit bearing. Yet if they are the means towards the end, that is, making disciples or committed followers of the Lord, then we bear the fruit that He wants us to have. 

Brothers and sisters, would our Lord find fruit in us?


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