Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Season of Purpose Or A Life of Purpose?


“Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.” – Mark 11:12-14

Most of us are living examples of our disbelief in God’s sovereignty over our lives. We say we believe that our days are numbered, and that God only knows the day in which we will die and meet Him face to face. Yet we don’t spend our time preparing for that day.
When Vacation Bible School is near, you’ll find many devoted Christians studying God’s word in preparation. When a Revival or a special Bible Study is coming, the same is true. We find seasons in which we feel obligated to bear fruit, but during the off seasons, we don’t feel obligated to do much of anything.  Yet every day He watches over us, and each and day we wake could be the day last day we hit the alarm clock, the last day we crawl out of an earthly bed.  This very day could be the day the angels are released from Heaven to escort us into the presence of our Lord.  We all understand this, but do we believe it with our hearts, or just with our minds?
It was the time of Passover.  Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem had occurred earlier that day.  He had rode a borrowed colt into the city, as the people shouted “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”  He had seen the temple, and overthrown the tables of the money changers.  Knowing His time was near, he went out of the city, and out of Bethany with his disciples.
As they walked, Jesus saw a fig tree at a distance.  Hoping to find something on it, he walked to it, but found only leaves.  Seeing there was nothing on it to eat, he cursed the tree and it withered.  But if you read Mark’s account of the incident in Mark 11:13, you’ll find that “it was not the season for figs.” Passover came in March or April, early spring. During this time fig trees would produce a number of buds, and then actual fruit later on. What Jesus was looking for was the edible buds that the tree would have had if it were going to bear fruit later on. He would have been happy at this time of year to have found even the hope of fruit to come.  When Jesus found no edible buds on the tree, he cursed it. His judgment was not simply that the tree would never bear fruit again. The tree itself withered and died.

It seems like a rash action for Jesus to take to cause the tree to wither and die.  But the tree’s one purpose was to bear fruit.  Jesus, having the knowledge of God, knew this tree’s history.  He knew if it was a good tree, bearing fruit every season, or a weak tree that would not bear enough or often enough.  The tree was not serving its purpose.

When reading this passage, I had to stop and ask myself, what if Jesus was to request figs of me today.  Am I living a life of seasonal service, or am I giving Him a life of purpose?  Would I have anything to offer Him today?  Would I be able to show him even the buds of fruit to come? Or would he look at me in disgust and condemnation?

To spend day after day living our lives as if they were our own, and ignoring the work of God shows a lack of thankfulness for His sacrifice.  With so many desperately needing to know our Lord, there is no reason why we cannot show Him fruit, or at least the hope of fruit to come, each and every day.  We can live a life of purpose, serving Him daily, instead of when His work is in season.  Not a day should go by that we cannot lay some offering of thankfulness at his feet.  Otherwise, what purpose do we serve? We’re as useless to Him as the fig tree that didn’t bear buds or fruit when He was hungry.

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