Friday, September 16, 2011

Tending Our Gardens: Flowers, No Fruit

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. Mark 11:12-14

I have a little garden in my backyard. It’s a small plot of land that was ready to plant a vegetable garden in when we bought the house. I had never gardened before but when I saw that little plot of land in the back visions of tomatoes and cucumbers danced in my head.

The first year I planted tomato seeds I didn’t know what I was doing so I just planted a bunch of seeds and I had a bumper crop of tomatoes.

Last spring when we were planning our garden, buying seeds, plants and deciding what we wanted to grow, my then 8-year-old son asked if we could plant some pumpkin seeds. Now I have never grown pumpkins but I was willing to give it a try. We bought a package and planted the seeds. Before long, the green shoots of the pumpkin plant poked their head through the soil. Soon, long vines stretched out of the little barbed wire fence into the yard. Before I knew it, big beautiful flowers emerged from the pumpkin vine.

We were excited because our experience had taught us that the flower was the preliminary stage to the fruit. I also have an apple tree in my backyard and every spring it explodes into beautiful white flowers and then those flowers transform into little green apples. The yellow flowers on my tomato plants become red ripe tomatoes. So I was expecting these large orange flowers on the vine to become pumpkins.

Every day I would go out in the garden and look for signs that a pumpkin was on the way.

No pumpkins.

Eventually the flowers would shrivel up, but then new buds would emerge. But still—no pumpkins. The vines looked lush and green. The flowers were beautiful, but there was no fruit. October came-- the time I should have been harvesting our pumpkins. But all I had was the memory of the flowers. No fruit.

That is how our spiritual lives can be. Jesus is looking for fruit. All he is finding is flowers.

Jesus is looking for fruit or at least signs that fruit is coming, but all he is finding is flowers. He is looking at our churches where we meet every Sunday and some Wednesdays. He is looking for fruit. He expects fruit. He is looking for a harvest. Jesus wants to find some fruit, but all he sees are leaves and flowers. We look good. We might even smell good, but we aren’t producing fruit. We seem fruitful in appearance, but we’re barren in reality.

Every day he is looking at our lives. Every minute he is examining our hearts. He is looking for fruit.

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

What is Jesus finding in your spiritual garden? Fruit or just flowers?

Next week: Tending Our Gardens: How to Grow Fruit


Eugenia Drye said...

Most awesome word from the Word. May you always tend to your garden and bear the Fruit of the Spirit. :-) We will be in Chicago for Thanksgiving holiday. Please email number again. GOD BLESS!
Eugenia Drye

kim said...

A girl from the farm was reminded the two gardens are totally different. We had flower gardens and fruit trees. You helped me understand the scripture better and why our sweet Jesus says what He did ; flowers can blossom from shallow dirt but for fruit the roots of the tree run deep. "Bear Fruit "

Janie said...

Monica, thank you for the Word.

How ironic my boyfriend has a garden in his backyard. I was thinking yesterday of the analogy of clearing back his grapevines for how we have to prune our lives in different seasons. And then I read this today. I pray for continually bearing fruit in my life and yours. God Bless.

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