Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Box of tomatoes....a reminder to produce!

And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down'.” - Luke 13:6-9

 We were given a big box of fresh tomatoes. All sort of varieties of tomatoes were in the box. Karen used them to make stewed tomatoes and then some homemade salsa. All good eats if you ask me. With the drought this year, our garden has not produced so well. Even with my watering it, it has just been too dry. What we found is our friend has a well and uses the excess water in the well to water their garden. It reminded me of this parable and that our lives need to be tended and watered regularly in order to produce.

This is such an unusual parable. Jesus tells a short and concise story of faithfulness and a call to repent. Responding to God's call is ripe for all to hear and respond. The parable is letting us know that God is investing in his creation and their will come a time when fruit will be expected and when it is not produced there is sad results. Bradford Reeves of Texas writes:
I remember when I was given some exceptional homegrown vegetables. While thanking the people involved, I asked what made the vegetables so good. They told me that the growing temperature had been just right and rain had come at just the right time. Much of what led to their exceptional crop did not depend on them.

Unlike that vegetable crop, much of what influences our spiritual life does depend on us. We determine our attitude, our disciplines, and our willingness to grow. So I check myself from time to time. I look at my attitudes: Do I trust God? Am I seeking to stay in love with God? I look at my spiritual practices: praying, reading the Bible, attending worship, receiving Communion, doing all the good I can, avoiding all the evil I can. Do I seek out spiritual counsel? I look at my willingness to grow: Do I desire God above all things?
I agree with Mr. Reeves. It takes work to be a growing believer in Christ. The sinful nature is like weeds in a garden. If I do not tend and work toward spiritual formation, then the sinful nature will take over and my life is filled with weeds of sin. I want to bear exceptional fruit in God’s kingdom, but I know that means I cannot simply depend on what comes to me. I have my part to do.

Striving to be all the God created in me....you know I love ya, Don

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