Luke 13:6-9 (KJV)
He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
Sometimes I get an idea for a blog, and I'll just put the word in the title and save it until I feel it's time to write it, or actually until God inspires me to write it. I used the scripture above to help somebody a few years ago who was going thru something pretty traumatic in their life....then, they contacted me again on Saturday....so I felt God prompting me to go back thru my "drafts" and write about this one. In other words, He gave me a "sign" that I'm always asking Him for!!!
When I get a call, or an e-mail, from somebody facing a crisis, I feel that for the most part all I can do is lend a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on, but I do pray for these people and their troubles become my burden that I take to the Lord. Sometimes....when people feel like they are on their very last leg to stand on, and it's getting shaky.....and they really don't even know what to pray for, or how to pray....they turn to others and let them go to the Lord on their behalf. Now, right here, I want to say that I am absolutely no better than anybody....I just consider it a privilege for someone to have enough faith in me to take somebody else's problem, their burden, their sorrow, to the Lord when they feel they have no place else to turn. So....without further explanation of why this post came about...let's break down the scripture. As I've told you before, I am no Bible scholar.....but here is how I see these verses of scripture:
"A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard"
"A certain Man"....is God
"fig tree planted in his vineyard"....that's me and you
"He came and sought fruit thereon, and found none"
He...our Heavenly Father....came and sought fruit on His tree, but found none. That was difficult for me to type...because how many times has my life been fruitless? How often have I done absolutely nothing for my precious Savior? How often have I not taken the opportunity to help others? The answer to all these questions is: "too many times to even count".
"Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none?
You know what...in breaking down scripture...and applying it to myself...making it personal...it's very humbling. I look back and how often God prompted me to do, or say, something and it just didn't happen. Was I too busy?? Did I have other things on my mind...probably myself??? Was I nothing but lazy and just said "somebody else can do that much better than me"? If God is calling on you to do something, He will give you the strength and whatever else you need to get the job done.
"cut it down: why cumbereth it the ground"?
I'm so glad that during the times in my life that I wasn't as close to God as I should be that He didn't...doesn't...turn His back on me and "cut me down" because I was just in the way...which is what "cumbereth" means!!!
If you...and I...aren't as close to God as we once were, or as we would like to be...please know that it certainly isn't God who has gone anywhere. Have we quit reading our Bibles like we once did??? Have we quit going to Sunday school and listening to God's word being taught and fellowshipping with other Christians? Have we quit going to worship services and hearing a man of God stand in the pulpit and give a message that God laid on his heart??? Have we quit helping others??? Again...all of these things....even some of these things....can create a huge cavern between us and the Lord....but....He still hsn't moved...He's still right there where He always was.....and His arms are outstretched and He is welcoming us home!!!
"Lord, let it alone this year also"
Now, I have tears...can't you just hear Jesus saying,
"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do?"
Jesus is our Intercessor....He goes to God on our behalf, just like we do when we pray for others...but our prayers are to Jesus, and He then takes our petitions to God. I feel that this part of scripture is Jesus asking Him to wait...He's asking God to give Him a little more time.
"till I shall dig about it, and dung it"
Just in case you don't know what "dung" is:
It's manure, something used as fertilizer to make plants grow!!!
Now...here is where this gets interesting. You know all those bad things that we go thru that we would rather not...they happen to us for a reason. I'm a firm believer that something good comes from every bad thing that we have to go thru, be it to help us be able to help somebody else when they are faced with something similiar...or...just to make us grow; grow in our walk with God, to depend more fully on Him, to grow in our faith, to grow in being more "fruitful" in our service to Him!!!!
"And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down"
To me, life is a learning experience, no matter how old we get...at least it's been that way for me. But, if somebody continues to turn their backs on God, then here is what the Bible says:
Romans 1:28 (NLT)
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.
I cannot imagine being abandoned by God. What would my life be like without Him? I definitely never want to know. I hope that some of you can read this and it be of some kind of help to you if you're facing a tough time.
Just hang in there. Here is what our pastor says....God wants you where you are...but, He's not going to leave you there!!!
HE'S STILL WORKING ON MEBy: Joel Hemphill
He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He's still working on me.
1. There really ought to be a sign upon the heart,
Don't judge her yet, there's an unfinished part.
But I'll be perfect just according to His plan
Fashioned by the Master's loving hands.
2. In the mirror of His Word reflections that I see
Make me wonder why He never gave up on me.
He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray
Remember He's the Potter, I'm the clay.