My reading yesterday included the following verses:
Luke 13:6-9: Then Jesus used this illustration: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s taking up space we could use for something else.’ The gardener answered, ‘Give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, you can cut it down.'”
Special attention sounds nice, doesn’t it? But, my guess is that special attention included a whole lot of pruning, or cutting away dead branches to enhance fruitfulness and growth. The truth is, when we experience this type of pruning in our own lives, it can feel miserable. Why do I have to give up this relationship? This habit? This pursuit? But, God is a loving gardener and has a way of showing us that He is a God of second chances.
Are you blooming currently where you are planted? Are you currently producing fruit? If you were to die next week (not that any of us want to think about that), what are you doing today that would have an eternal impact? Are you investing in the lives of others? Are you storing up wealth on earth or treasure in heaven? Sometimes I get so caught up in the rat-race of everyday living that I feel like I’m majoring in the minor and minoring in the major. I’ve been so focused on work that I’m neglecting to really see people.
You can tell a lot about others when you witness their response to hardship. Is what comes out the fruit of the Spirit? Or does the ugliness of what’s in the heart bubble to the surface? If God is pruning, cutting, refining… know that He loves you. He’s giving you another opportunity. His desire is that these refining moments would help you shine His light to others, that the yuck would be trimmed away and what was left would be a thing of beauty and grace.
Dear God, sometimes this whole pruning thing feels downright awful. But, we trust You. We know that You love us, that You are for us, that You have our best in mind. We also realize You see the whole picture of what we need to look like or what needs to be trimmed so that we can properly bear the kind of fruit You have in mind. Help us cling to You when we feel like we’re suffering from Your refining. Please plant us where we won’t be moved or worse, cut down altogether. May we be the people You had in mind when You formed us. Be near us today and fertilize our hearts and minds with Your word. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!
Here is a song that came on the radio as I was driving to school, and it’s an old favorite. ENJOY! “He’s making diamonds, diamonds, diamonds out of dust… He is refining, in His timing, He’s making diamonds out of dust, He’s making diamonds out of us…”