Do More to be Fruitful
It is about this time every year that I simply want to do more. This “do more” attitude usually arrives with the longer days, the first week of spring, and the glimpse of warmer weather. I get these grandiose ideas that I need to plant something that will bear a harvest of some sort. The idea of walking out in my back yard to pick delectable fresh things to eat is so appealing to me. Unfortunately, my soil isn’t great, the shade is thick, and well my stickability to make it through the hot and often dry summer, leaves my harvest something to only be imagined as it never seems to come to fruition.
It is usually by August that my “do more” attitude along with my plants starts drying up. Sometimes even if they are still green, they just show no signs of producing any type of harvest. Gardening can certainly be frustrating when you try to do everything just as the books indicate yet yield plants that produce nothing more than taking up space.
As I thought about spring plantings this week it was ironic that I read the parable of the Fig Tree in Luke 13: 6 – 9. I can understand clearly how both the man and his gardener felt. Sometimes a plant just doesn’t appear to produce anything, and the instinct is to just pull it up, throw it out, and put something new in. I am more inclined to be like the gardener though and wait and see if after time the plant will produce something. Because of my waiting, I have even harvested tiny bell peppers in November if the weather holds out. Thankfully in our lives, Christ is our gardener. He gives us another chance to do more and produce a fruitful existence.
Understanding the Soil
To understand the parable better you must understand the soil of Israel. The soil in Israel is a premium. It is not unusual for a vineyard owner to give a little of his soil up for a fruit tree. In the case of this parable, the fruit tree took up the best and deepest soil in addition, to requiring the most water. Since a fig tree doesn’t produce figs until 3 years after planting the owner recognized it was now taking up valuable land and resources yet producing no fruit. He was frustrated and thought it should do more than just take up space.
When Jesus told the parable, it was directed to the Israelites. God gave them the choicest ground and their land possessed everything necessary to make themselves a great nation to shine the light of God for all to see. God strategically placed them in a position to make and send fruit in all directions. But unfortunately, their own internal fighting made them like the worthless fig tree zapping up all the resources with no yield. He expected them to do more than just take up space.
Likewise, God expects every one of us and our churches to also do more than just take up space. All believers are called to do more than be a fruitless existence. For it is fruitful that describes what the life of a Christian is about.
It Takes Action to Do More
It was Garrison Keillor who said you no more become a Christian by attending church on Sunday than you become an automobile by sleeping in a garage. We must do more! Being a believer and claiming the Christian faith is more than a title. We are tasked with meeting unbelievers wherever we go. It is important to note that everywhere we go and everything, we do is representing Christ to the world. We are His light. Being a believer is more than sitting back and enjoying life with Christ. It is also working alongside Him being fruitful in our spirit and voice. Showing others Christ through our actions and reactions is the first step to do more to produce the fruit for the final harvest.
Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’Luke 13:7 (NLT)
As I think about doing more or producing fruit for Christ the refrain from an old hymn sounds in the background. Let Others See Jesus in
Fruitful Work – A Model
God doesn’t ask us to become what we are not. The fig tree is only required to produce figs and nothing else. You and I are only asked to accomplish what our natural given gifts allow, but we are asked to accomplish that. We can impact others in so many ways even in our own communities, just like Tabitha (Dorcas in Greek) of Joppa. (Acts 9:36)
Author, Stuart Briscoe suggests that if we want to produce fruit for the Lord the Care, Dare, Share, and Prayer model is effective.
- Care – Show concern for others. In addition, recognize the concern for your own life before Christ.
- Dare – Use the courage granted to you by God to be a witness for Him. Stand up for your beliefs in what you do and say.
- Share – Share yourself with others. Do more by getting involved with other people’s lives. Help shoulder their burdens and celebrate their successes.
- Prayer – Never discount the effectiveness of prayer for it is the leading gate to the preparation of people’s heart to hear and see the Good News of Christ.
Flourish with the Action of a “Do More” Life
So, no matter our situations, circumstances, or even if it makes sense; we must continue to praise and worship the Almighty to the point that Christ is seen by others in the way we conduct our lives. We can be fruitful in good deeds by sharing our gifts, talents, and resources with others. It is in this way that we do more than just take up space. For as we trust fully in the Lord, we will flourish and be fruitful like “trees planted on a riverbank” (Psalm 1:3, Jeremiah: 17: 7 – 8) giving us strength not only for ourselves but for others as well.
Challenge yourself to do more than just say you are a believer. Act today and show that you are indeed a follower of Christ. Root your convictions by the deep waters of the “river” doing more than just talk. Find your motivation in knowing that being a follower of Christ involves more than just sitting back and accepting the gifts of God. Allow your faith to spur you forward in sharing your God-given gifts with others as well. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that God not only cares for you but for all mankind and He expects you to act spreading His love to everyone.
For the more, we delight in obeying God, the more fruitful we are.
Love in Christ,
Life is about fruitfulness”
What Are Your Thoughts?
Are you driven to do more in life than to just take up space? Does your life reveal and reflect the love of Christ and the Good News to all you meet? Share your thoughts on the necessary importance of being fruitful in all places.
Briscoe, S. (2014). Getting Into God: Practical Guidelines for the Christian Life. Fort Washington: CLC Publications.