I'm sending you a short little devotional with a big message. We all should check our fruit every now and then. Be Blessed today! SandyC
THE DEAD PLANTS
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. Matthew 21:18-19
Our garden hasn’t done very well this year due to too much rain. That is certainly unusual because we normally fight off draught with hose pipes and sprinklers. Twice the rains have been so heavy that the tomato plants were left standing in water. I went out a couple of days after the second rain to try to pick the vegetables and sunk up over the ankles of my boots. It was like sinking in quicksand out there!
We weren’t surprised after the first rain that some of the tomato plants withered up and died. After the second rain I saw that the other plants were not going to make it either. The difference is that these plants had already matured. Their branches were full of green tomatoes. What a waste! I watched each day as the plants slowly died and dried up into brown sticks in the ground. What amazed me was that the fruit stayed attached to the plants and started the ripening process. For weeks we have been gathering ripe tomatoes off of dead plants.
Today, while doing some studying I believe I saw a spiritual application for this picture of a dead plant with fruit still being produced. You know how the Bible uses plants to symbolically illustrate truths. For instance we are called oaks of righteousness in Isaiah 61 and palm trees and cedars in Psalm 92. Jesus used the fig tree to illustrate unfruitfulness. Just as these tomato plants were destined to bear tomatoes, we are destined to bear fruit for the Kingdom.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the funeral of a dear man, who bore much fruit for the Kingdom. When my husband and I arrived at the church where the visitation was being held, there was standing room only in the foyer. This was not a small church, either. There were several hundred people there to pay their respects. As we waited in line to get into the sanctuary where his family was receiving friends and family, I could hear stories of reminiscing about how this man had impacted their lives.
This man’s body withered up and died, but he was still carrying fruit in his old age. The impact that this man made on the lives of others will be seen for many years to come. His fruit will still be ripening, even though he is gone physically. Jesus got very upset at a fig tree that was green and flourishing because it had no fruit to feed the hungry. It looked good, but had nothing to offer. This is a great contrast between the conditions of the soul.
Many Christians are walking around without any fruit to show for their relationship with Jesus. They don’t think it is important to produce fruit, so they busy themselves with the important things in life like work, sports, hobbies and such. They see Jesus as a fireman to put out the disasters in their lives or a policeman to save them from the devil. But Jesus is still looking for fruit.
I wonder what He would have said to my friend with his aging body loaded down with fruit from good works and walking in love with his fellow man. I believe He would have looked straight at the fruit and said, “At last I have something to eat. Well done good and faithful servant.”
There is one thing different about the tomatoes that I have been gathering from the dead plants. The skin is tuff, but the inside is juicy like it should be. The taste is just like a homegrown tomato. I see the tuff skin as the results of the adversity that the plant went through to bring the fruit to full maturity. It wasn’t easy holding it up off the ground. The sun was drying the plant up quicker than the summer grass. Yet, in the midst of death, life was coming forth.
Some of you have been wounded and had dreams totally destroyed by the enemy. You think that there is nothing for you, but look closer and you will see that you have fruit that has not ripened yet. Nurture it and bring it forth out of the ashes of the pain that you feel. It will ripen if you let the Son shine on it and you don’t give up hope. After all, the fruit of His time on earth is still coming forth because death has no power over Him or you.
So, as I gaze out at the garden and see the little specks of red in the midst of the brown “tumble weeds”, I have hope that no matter whatever comes my way or how old I become there will be fruit for the Kingdom hanging on my branches.