The Bare Soul - January 13, 2013
Bearing Fruit

Matthew 21:19 - Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, "No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you." And at once the fig tree withered.

Like any type of cultivated plant, fruit trees require particular care in order to yield significant fruit. Fig trees, for instance, require regular mulching of organic or processed fertilizers around their trunks for the first three years after planting. Then, adequate pruning has to occur. After a few years, a fig tree can produce enough figs to feed a family of four. (This is all according to an arbor-centric website all about the care of fruit trees.) As with most living things, it only makes sense that if a plant such as a fig tree is cared for, it will produce fruit in its season and according to its care.

Fig trees are commonly referenced in biblical times as a source of sustenance for ancient Israelites. The earliest mention of any one particular type of tree in the Scriptures is the fig tree from which Adam and Eve sowed together leaves for makeshift coverings (Genesis 3:7). Figs were also some of the fruit brought back by the spies that Moses sent out (Numbers 13:23). Solomon mentions them in his garden (Song of Solomon 2:13), and Isaiah prescribes figs as a boil remedy for King Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:21). However, the fig's most common use was to complement the Middle Easterner's fruit diet, as our Lord depicts in the Gospels.

In our lead verse, did Jesus know this fig tree had no fruit? It seems obvious that He chose not to use His divinity to ascertain this particular instance. This, in a way, was added grace for this tree which was soon to be cursed and withered under His divine power. In the same respect, God gives us much grace until the time He comes looking for fruit on us. He allows us to grow wherever we are planted and appear to be "green" and useful for the kingdom. However, when He comes looking, we had best have produced more than spiritual leaves.

Are we a lone fig tree in our walk with God? We have far less chance of producing fruit if we are. The main benefit of fig tree groves rather than solitary fig trees is fertilization. A lone fig tree has far more likelihood to not be fertilized than a grove of trees. (A random insect or bird may cause fertilization to a lone tree, but don't count on it!) If we are indeed a lone fig tree, are we possibly only worthy of trying to produce a false covering like Adam and Eve tried to create? Our works will never save us, beloved. We must bear fruit, in season. There is no guarantee the Lord will continue to come looking once we have disappointed His initial desire to find fruit in us.

Are we all planted together for His glory? May we all look to the Lord and then to other believers for our strength. Then, may we produce fruit as we serve both for God's glory!

Heavenly Father, let none of us experience Your disappointment when you come looking for fruit on Your beloved. May we look to You and others to make us healthy spiritual trees that will bear fruit in season for Your glory.

Your Barefoot Servant,



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