Taking Some Time

April 21, 1999
by Michael Steckel

Luke 13:8-9 – "Sir," the man replied, "leave it alone for one more year, and I will dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down."

So many times I hear Christians say that you will know other Christians by their fruits. While I agree with this, one thing I see is that it may take time for this fruit to come about. Many Christians have the expectation that once one is saved there will be instant fruit borne. We must remember that before fruit can be borne a seed must be planted and then the seed must grow. Doing prison ministry, I can see this firsthand. There are some groups who come into the prison and all they care about is how many people that have been saved, but then they walk away from these new Christians. Once we are saved it is so important that we know what it means to be a Christian. I try to just be there for them and help them in their relationship with God, so that as they come to know God better, the fruits may then follow. One cannot just plant the seed and then walk away. Instead, once the seed is planted, one should stay with it and watch it and help it grow. In today's Scripture, Jesus tells a parable about a man who has a fig tree which is not producing any fruit. He tells the gardener to cut it down, but the gardener wants to give the tree one more year in which he can work with the tree so that it may produce fruit. I have learned that the fruit may take a little while before it is produced, and also that it may take more work than just planting the seed for that fruit to be borne. Patience and love will not only nurture the other's relationship with God, it will also nurture one's own.

Prayer: Lord, we thank you for being the patient gardener. You are not willing to give up on us so easily. Instead, with your great love you work with us so that we may bear the fruit you created us to bear. In Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author:

Michael Steckel
Fairbanks, Alaska, USA

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