The Little Fig Tree

January 2016

I had planted a little fig tree 5 months ago, a mere 15 inches tall, into a hard clay soil, topped with pebble stones. I had not given it any feeding or much watering in all this time, and the winter had ripped all its leaves to a bare stalk, making it look rather dead. Still I had hoped that it would survive somehow, perhaps eventually into a large tree, bearing fruit.

A few days ago, my husband Rob came running into the house, exclaiming that it has 4 fruit on it! I couldn't believe my ears and had to run and see it for myself. And there it was, a few green leaves had sprouted with indeed 4 fruit on it. 

"What an incredible little tree", I thought, "How could it have fruited already?!"
      
             









 
















I was then reminded of the following scripture:

Matthew 21:18-19
18 Now early in the morning, as Jesus was coming back to the city, He was hungry.
19 Seeing a lone fig tree at the roadside, He went to it and found nothing but leaves on it; ...


How disappointing it must have been for Jesus not to have found any fruit on that fig tree. Well, He would have been very pleased with my little fig tree :)

Then it suddenly occurred to me - how disappointing it must be for Jesus if, as His followers, we do not bear fruit for His kingdom.  Are we nothing but leaves? Do we profess to be Christians without practicing the profession?

My little fig tree began to inspire me -- despite its growing conditions in a hard clay soil with no watering, it is fruiting.....!
So just like the little fig tree, as Christians, we may well be placed in a hard place:
  • Perhaps in a workplace where there is a lot of swearing and dishonesty;
  • Perhaps in a town where there is a lot of crime;
  • Perhaps in a country where terrorism is increasing;
  • Perhaps in a marriage where there are many difficult challenges;
  • Perhaps in a church where there are dissensions and slander;
  • Perhaps in a family where there is division, hurt, anger, disappointments, hatred;
  • Etc.

These are hard life conditions in which we are supposed to grow fruit.
But how do we grow fruit?
And how do we know if we are growing fruit?

The answer came to me in scriptures:
  • Produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Matt 3:8)
  • I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5)
  • If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples (John 15:7,8)

In other words, in order to grow any fruit at all, not only does our repentance need to be sincere, but that we also need to remain in Jesus by being obedient to Him, a doer of His Word. Our Christianity must become and remain an active profession at all times, especially as the world becomes a harder place to live in as we go further towards the End Times. 

In practical terms:
  • When we continue to turn away from the sins we used to do, we are fruiting ...
  • When we forgive, bless and pray for our enemies (be they be church goers, an unfair boss, terrorists, an adulterous spouse, an abusive family member, etc), we are fruiting ...
  • When we continue to tithe faithfully regardless of our financially worries, we are fruiting ...
  • When we lay hands on the sick and pray for them, we are fruiting ...
  • When we walk in love for people and for God, we are fruiting ...
  • When we become a light in a dark world, we are fruiting..
  • Etc.

Ultimately in time, we are growing the fruit of the Holy Spirit, as follows:

Galatians 5:22
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.


So despite being a small speck in a big world, faced with big life challenges -- take a leaf (or even a fruit!) from my little fig tree -- be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. So that when Jesus comes again, He will not be disappointed - because this time, instead of finding nothing but leaves, He will find a big harvest of fruit.

Happy fruiting!  :)