Despite the fact that I had cultivated it, watered it, fertilized it, etc…, it nonetheless declined, shriveled, and eventually, even up and died on me. And now, true to my word, I did what I said I would do. I yanked it up by the roots and threw it on the burn pile!
In its place is a “brand spanking new” tree, all of 18 inches tall. And though it is small in stature, it is nonetheless vigorous and full of life. Already, in its short time in the orchard, it is has taken root, produced foliage, and begun a very evident skyward climb. I have all confidence that it will one day produce fruit in abundance.
I’m glad to see that. After all, I have lavished attention on it. That is to say, I have showered it with water, fertilizer, and mulch, as well as a protective cage within which to grow. In short, I have bestowed upon it all the affection and consideration I did its predecessor. And now, I await its response.
Of course, as I referenced in that previous blog post, all of this reflects the story Jesus told in the New Testament Gospel of Luke, chapter 13, verses 6-9, commonly referred to as the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree…
“A man had a fig tree that was planted in his vineyard. He went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the keeper of the vineyard, ‘Look, for the past three years I have come to search for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Therefore cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone again this year, until I dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine. But if not, you can cut it down.’”
The Bible affirms that God is a patient God. He pours out His blessings time and again upon individuals, upon communities, upon nations, and upon civilizations. Just as He does for churches. And yet, as His Word attests: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and from him who has been entrusted with much, even more will be demanded!”
For my part, I was patient and longsuffering with my “Dwarf Red Delicious Apple” tree. And this is not without reason - for that tree, above all others, was intended to produce my favorite fruit. You might therefore say that it was intended to be “the apple of my eye”!
But alas, despite all my attentions, despite all my affections, it still failed to live up to my expectation. Now, it fails to live at all.
And in all this lies a lesson for all of us. You see, our God is a good God. He is a gracious God, Who pours out His blessings upon us one and all. Indeed, He lavishes each of us with attention and affection. But even as He does, He also harbors expectations for us. And rightfully so.
Little wonder then, that His Word also says that His Spirit will not always strive with us. Simply put, there is a limit to His patience.
How dare we, therefore, fail to live up to God’s expectations! To whom much is given, much is indeed required. And should we fail to live up to and fulfill our God-given role and responsibility, then we should not be surprised when we find ourselves supplanted by some other entity upon which God pours out equal blessings! For to whom much is given, much will indeed be required!
PREVIOUS BLOG POST: