The Fig Tree

Recently, I went to the coffee maker to pour myself a simple cup of “joe”; I was disappointed. I attempted to pour the liquid into the cup from the carafe, but instead of filling the cup, the coffee went over the spout, down the side of the container, off the bottom of the carafe and onto the floor. Now, I may not be the world’s brightest star, but I think I know how to “operate” a coffee pot. I was very frustrated and irritated and sought to throw the worthless vessel into the garbage. Its simple function was to effectively transmit its contents to another container, yet it failed to do just that.

In Mark 11:12-14 we read, “And on the next day, when they had departed from Bethany, He (Jesus) became hungry. And seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And He answered and said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again!’”

Jesus is on his way to the Temple and comes across this fig tree, which had no fruit on it, which is logical since it wasn’t the time of year for figs. Jesus curses the tree. He then proceeds to the Temple where He handily dismisses the evildoers who are not bearing any fruit. They are hardened individuals who have turned the house of the Lord into a “mall”; the Temple itself had become “fruitless.” The one thing the Temple was to do was allow people to enjoy the presence of God in worshipping and communing with Him, and yet it failed to provide that. Jesus was justifiably frustrated.

And on the return trip “And as they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. And being reminded, Peter said to Him, ‘Rabbi, behold, the fig tree which You cursed has withered’” (20-21).  The end result of something not doing what God had designed it to do was death.

I wonder how we are doing as God’s chosen vessels. Are we effectively transmitting that which is in us to other vessels, or are we slopping it on the floor? Are we bearing fruit? Are we glorifying God in our lives, or are we content to be “secure” with just “life insurance”? I suggest that we are indeed called to bear fruit.

We are called to “Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. ‘And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire’” (Matthew 3:8-10).

That means we cannot simply claim we have salvation because of our spiritual heritage, or ancestral roots. It means we need to evidence being connected to the vine ourselves. If we do not bear fruit, we have to question if we are even of the household of the faith. If we do not bear fruit there is an axe laid at the root… I’ll let God speak to you about what that means, but I am certain they are pretty serious words, not to be taken lightly.

Look around you. Do you see fruit that definitely identifies YOU as a person who has repented of your sin and your evil ways? Does your life give glory to the Redeemer? Are you a vessel who effectively transmits your hope to others? Are you truly a follower of Christ?

No greater concern should consume you today than whether you are actively, effectively, intentionally in a right relationship with the God of the Bible.