Monday, March 25, 2024

          The gospels tell us the story of Jesus’ grand and celebrated entry into Jerusalem—what we commonly call the triumphal entry and remember as we worship on Palm Sunday.  On the next day, Monday, Matthew’s gospel records that Jesus cursed a fig tree.  We read, “Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, ‘May you never bear fruit again!’ Immediately the tree withered.  When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. ‘How did the fig tree wither so quickly?’ they asked,” (Matthew 21:18-20).  Imagine a tree that does not bear fruit.  Such a tree is probably not much good to anyone.  We might even write it off as useless or take it down.  A fruit tree should produce fruit.  And a fig tree, in Jesus’ day, was rightfully expected to produce figs.  But this tree in front of Jesus was fruitless and figless. 
            The Bible tells us that Jesus was hungry at that moment.  He looked to the tree for something to eat—maybe in the same way you would eat a power bar or an apple.  Then Jesus cursed this barren tree and it immediately withered.  We have this story in our Bible not so much as a lesson in fruit trees and their well-being but rather as a lesson about faithful and fruitful living.  With our lives, we are to produce fruit that lasts and blesses the Lord.  We want to be increasingly fruitful in the kind of spiritual fruit that we find in Galatians 5:22-23…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.  That fruit lasts.  And that fruit is produced and borne by the work of the Holy Spirit living in us and working through us.  We can produce good fruit in any set of circumstances—whether in times of plenty or times of want.  Living for Christ is not contingent upon the present moment or situation where we may find ourselves.
            As we work and walk through Holy Week, we can think about how fruitfully we are living.  Would Jesus curse the fruit we are producing or even our fruitlessness?  Holy Week affords us an opportunity to look at how we are living and what we are doing.  We never want to waste our lives or the moments that God entrusts to us.  God’s people are saved by Him to serve Him.  Saved to serve is not bumper sticker theology.  It is not a cliché.  It is a true assessment of what comes next for those who belong to Jesus.  Service is an outflow of salvation.  We are always on mission.  Sometimes our service is stunted because we have not spent time with the Lord in Bible reading or prayer.  We have drifted away from Him.  We have allowed other things and pursuits to crowd Him out of our lives.  We can often become fruitless in a slow, drawn-out period of time.  It may not happen immediately but there is a slow, slipping, crouching slide into idleness and fruitlessness. 
            As you move through Holy Week, take a look at your serving.  Examine the fruit you are producing.  Is there evidence to be seen that would convict you as a follower of Christ?  Are the primary relationships in your life healthy and strong?  How is your quiet time with the Lord each day?  Do you read the Bible?  Do you pray?  A healthy garden does not just magically happen.  It is nurtured, cultivated, nourished and cared for.  The same is true for a healthy faith and a life of service.  We have to nurture our faith.  We do this with prayer, Scripture reading, worship, thankfulness and praising the Lord.  Trust God to help you build a fruitful life and faith.  This kind of faith changes how we see the Lord and how we walk with Him.  We end with the good words of David in Psalm 27:13-14, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  Have a great Monday!  Remember you can share our worship any time at

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