Sunday, May 15, 2016


May 16, 2016
Luke 13:9  "'Maybe it will produce fruit next year, if not, you may cut it down.'"

We all know we are supposed to do good things, acts of kindness and generosity and service.  An argument cannot be create against such noble and worthy actions.  The difficulty with this concept is that it is not an option, but an obligatory response to the kindness and generosity of what the Savior did for us.  Acts of service to others is not only a good thing, but a mandatory thing.  It isn't optional.  We banter in our heads about where we should volunteer and what we should do.  We argue it down, suggesting we don't have a burden for children's ministry within the church and therefore don't feel compelled to serve in that area.  Or maybe we don't necessarily have an emotional burden for the plight of the homeless and therefore aren't willing to serve in the soup kitchen.  We reason, the person who should help out in those areas will have a natural burden or desire to help.  Maybe we are approaching the topic wrong altogether.  Notice I did not use a question mark at the end of that last sentence.

For a successful children's ministry, it takes many people, not just those in the classroom ready and willing to work directly with children.  There is a great deal of administration that goes into it, a skill that some classroom workers do not possess.  There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into the soup kitchen for the homeless, some of which has nothing to do with directly interacting with the homeless; it requires meal planning, resource collecting, and simple food preparation.  My argument is that maybe we are approaching it all wrong.  It isn't "maybe the Lord wants me to help out in this capacity...."  The Lord said we are all mandated to take care of the less fortunate, the downtrodden, the sick, those in prison, the orphaned, etc.  It isn't a matter of maybe, it's a matter of simply "what role?"  It is a given that you are supposed to help with foster care of children.  It is a given that you are supposed to help with prison ministry.  It is a given that you are supposed to help with taking care of the homeless.  It is a given that you are supposed to actively participate and give in all areas of Christian service.  If you are not serving in any of those areas then the Lord has a message for you.

In the 13th chapter of Luke, Jesus told a parable about a fig tree that didn't bear fruit.  In the parable the fig tree was not just a sapling but a noticeable tree.  For three years it didn't bear fruit and the owner of the tree wanted to cut it down.  It was not functioning in the capacity originally required of it.  He was about to cut it down when someone intervened and begged the owner to give it one more chance at doing its job.  His argument was to give it another season with some extra support and maybe this time the tree would produce.  Reluctantly, the owner of the tree agreed to give it another opportunity, knowing full well it was the last chance before He moved on to another tree.  Christian, the parable is about you and me producing fruit out of a direct response to submitting to the design of the Maker.  If you and I are not willing, then the Lord desires to move on to another.  He is willing to be patient, to an extent, but "how long" is not for you and me to decide.

Maybe the fig tree will finally get its act together.  Maybe you and I will finally figure out it isn't about "maybe" volunteering or "maybe" giving, but about deciding to do the right thing and figuring out what role.  The Lord will not ask you to function in an area you are not equipped to function, but He will ask you to participate.  There are no spectator positions within Christianity.  There must be an outward response to the good work the Lord has done in your life, and that outward response means bearing fruit, producing what is required for the Owner of the Fig Tree.  Maybe it's time to get your act together and bear fruit or maybe the Owner of the Fig Tree will decide to cut it down.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Matthew 19:21, Luke 10:25-37, Luke 13:6-9, 1 Cor 13:3, James 1:27, Heb 13:3

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