Luke 13:6-9 New Living Translation
6 Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed.
7 Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’
8 “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer.
9 If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”
Last weekend, Pam and I wrapped up a very busy month of ministry by attending the AEGA World Retreat at Camp Bethany in Shreveport, Louisiana. It was a great weekend of fellowship, and the Presence of God just blew us all away.
One morning I was out walking & praying, thanking the Lord for His goodness in our lives when I came upon a very large stately water oak tree that was surrounded by a group of other water oaks. The greenery, the beauty, the new life brought about by the current Spring season really blessed me for some reason. But there was just one problem: the large stately oak, standing in the middle of this thicket of water oaks was dead. One of the limbs had been cut off because it had hung very low to the drive that it was planted by. The cut place had revealed the rot that was on the inside that I knew had led to the demise of the tree.
As I stood there observing this scenery, my heart began to tremble as the Spirit of God began to stir in my heart and I asked myself a simple question, “am I this tree?” I wasn’t asking this because I was doubting my salvation; but I always want to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so He can speak to me at any moment about where my walk with the Father is. We must NEVER forget; at any moment we can fall from whatever level we are in God. Recent headlines of famous preachers falling is proof of this.
Several things came quickly rushing into my heart as I pondered what could make this stately oak, so large that two grown men could not wrap their arms around it, die:
1.Maybe the tree had been sick for a long time, and no one noticed.
In this parable the owner of the garden had been coming and looking for fruit on this fig tree for quite a while. Everything on the outside looked fine. It looked healthy; the leaves were green; evidently the bark of the tree looked fine. But he could not see inside the tree to see if anything was going on internally.
Maybe you have everything “together” on the outside, but inside you know there are things God is speaking to you to get rid of. Don’t let your insides turn to rot!
2.Maybe the tree had not been properly cared for.
Or possibly an accident had taken place that the caretaker was not aware of.
The servant told the owner, “Give me one more year…give me another chance to see what will happen…” All through the month of May, I have been sensing the Lord whisper into my heart, “…this is a defining moment…” A defining moment is simply a moment in time in which you can look back on and know that God visited or touched your life in a mighty way. I sense God is giving us another chance, (a do over) to till the ground of our hearts with His Word so lasting fruit can come from our lives & ministries. We don’t need another week of meetings or just another conference to tie up our time. We need for God to till the ground of our hearts and lives, pour in the correct fertilizer that will produce the fruit of His Spirit in our lives. Oh Father, do it again!!!
Lastly, Maybe the tree had served its purpose.
Back to this stately oak. Without a doubt, this oak tree had produced shade for many years. It had been a place for the birds to nest, a place for people to sit under and gather some shade in the hot Louisiana sun. Without a doubt, it had produced a beautiful sight in the spring when the leaves would begin to bud, and in the fall when the leaves would change colors and fall.
But looking at the inside of this tree, it was so rotten, it’s purpose was finished.
Are you that tree? (I know this parable is directed to Israel, but this point is also speaking to us!) Do you have everything looking nice on the outside, but inside you are rotten? Maybe you are not rotten yet, but you are rapidly headed in that direction unless you allow the Holy Spirit to take God’s Word and renew you from the inside out!
Oh Father, don’t let any of us get to the place where we become so rotten on the inside, our faith dies, our purpose dies, and we must be replaced. I don’t want God to have to replace me because I am so hardheaded & hard hearted that I fail to heed the call to repentance, renewal, and Holy Spirit repair.
As the gardener said, “Give me one more year….”
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