Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "All People That On Earth Do Dwell"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 13:6-9 – And [Jesus] told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, 'Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?' And he answered him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'" (ESV)
Since I have arrived at our new home, I have spent time getting our garden into shape. After three years, the pruning is bearing fruit, literally.
The old pear tree was a mess when we arrived, as were the other fruit trees. So, I pruned back all of the old growth year-on-year. I note that there are now hundreds and hundreds of tiny pears, growing in clusters. On the other hand, the cherry tree, rotten to the core, was fit only to be dug up and cast aside, and is now an abode for worms and bugs.
On the day that we moved in, I helped and directed the removal men to unpack, and by the eve of the day, I was spent. To get away from the aroma of cigarette smoke that permeated the walls and the carpets, I went into the garden. Finally, I had freedom from all the tasks clattering about in my head, calling out, "I need doing!"
Worn out, I asked this question of God: Did I really do the right thing in committing us to this place? Am I still going to be able to do, and be up for, the impending tasks in the years ahead?
God's answer was simple; He displayed a rainbow over the house. I know it to be His way of communicating with me sometimes. For Noah, it was a call to trust Him, no matter how things appear or turn out.
All my concerns about the work and the unknown unknowns in store were a part of His future plan for us: to continue to grow, to be reminded of our trust in Him, and also to create a place of safety for the family.
This was no cuddly daydream; it was going to take time and commitment.
Today, as I look out of the window at the garden, I am aware of all the stories of individual plants being pruned or uprooted and replanted in a better position to yield healthy growth.
I understand Jesus' thought-provoking parable to be a call to account. The Father and Jesus are looking for signs of life in us. So, are we settling for less, just taking up space, or are we producing fruit in keeping with His kingdom? Are we allowing God to feed and refine us?
The Father, through the Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, is in the process of connecting with and redeeming His creation: us. He prepares, prunes, uproots, relocates, feeds, provides, and grows us through the process of life, for eternity in Him.
It is relational — if we are open to it. It is a gift. God tends and cares for us.
Prayer: Lord, may we grow deeper into You. Show us what needs to be done in our lives to bring forth fruit and connect. Through pruning and feeding, may we know You better, and produce fruit in keeping with Your kingdom. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.