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Accurate Representation

Over the last two weeks, we’ve looked at lessons from the fig tree in Mark 11. Hundreds of years later, we are still learning from this moment.

Lately, we’ve seen an increase in breaking news headlines announcing of organizational changes. The media release explains that a company has cut ties with an employee because their actions did not reflect organizational standards and values. Whether intentional or accidental, the actions of the employee were cause for dismissal. They misrepresented the company and were now a liability.

When Jesus and His disciples found the fig tree in Mark 11, it should have been full of fruit. Its leaves were in full bloom, suggesting that the figs were ripe for the picking. But there wasn’t even one fig on the tree. Jesus then cursed it to never bear any fruit again. The tree misrepresented its standards and was now a liability.

Jesus and His group approached the fig tree to satisfy their hunger. But when the tree turned out to be empty, they were disappointed. Perhaps they left even hungrier than when they first approached. At the risk of discovering other bare trees, they may have been hesitant to try another fig tree anytime soon.

When the group passed by the tree the following morning, they noticed it had withered from the roots upward.

Whenever I’ve seen a withering plant, it usually starts from the top and travels downward. The tops would first droop, then die. Slowly, you’ll see less and less green in the stem as the plant dies. There is hope for the plant if it’s trimmed or cut down before the death spreads to its roots. Once the roots are lifeless, there is no chance for new life. Withered roots are unable to absorb nutrients and water from the earth.

This encounter with the fig tree teaches us that God takes His name very seriously! He has even issued commandments describing how His name is to be used.

If we claim the title “Christian”, if we act like a follower of God, then the expectation is that during any interaction with us, we’re responding and behaving as someone who is closely connected to God. Our words, our actions, our ideas should be filled with good intentions. Our very presence would feel welcoming and inviting because God is with us.

When we send out mixed messages, like this fig tree, we risk hurting people. When we misrepresent God, the condition of those in need may deteriorate.

This does not have to be our experience. Let’s learn from this Bible story and made a decision to live and represent God with our best. We are not alone in how we live day to day. The Holy Spirit is available to us and helps us live honestly, representing God with accuracy in all that we do.

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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director,
Henderson Highway Church

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Read more about the fig tree:
Part 1: Are We Productive?
Part 2: Seasonal Produce

Seasonal Produce

Last week, we began looking at lessons from the fig tree in Mark 11. Hundreds of years later, we are still learning from this moment.

Though the tree looked promising, it did not produce any fruit. It did not fulfill the purpose for which it was created. This tree was then destroyed by Jesus Himself because it produced nothing. Even one fruit would have changed the fate of this tree.

When it comes to our lives, we must be producing something in order to be effective. It’s not enough to only look like a Christ-follower or to wear the title. We must live and love as Christ did.

Life is full of seasons. Each of us is living at our own pace in this journey of a Christian life. There are seasons of hardship. These moments can be incredibly painful and we may wish to hit a pause button on life in order to catch our breath. There are also seasons when we may not want to awaken from what must be a dream because life is going spectacularly well. Blessings are lining up for us and our jaws keep dropping lower and lower in amazement. We can’t forget the in between seasons. We may have developed a new appreciation for the mundane during the recovery from an upswing or downswing season.

Regardless of what’s currently happening at this very moment, life does not stop. We are not exempt from producing fruit because of what’s happening to us. The hardships and trials can fuel our resolve to dig deeper and hang on.

Dig deeper into God’s Word and cling to His promises. When we’re rooted in Christ, He will help us to weather the storms and keep on producing. Spend time in His presence, talking with God and listening to what He wants us to learn.

The enemy takes advantage of our trials and hardships to distract us from following Christ. As long as our focus shifts from Christ, we will stop producing fruit.

There is good news. Producing something, even if it seems small, is still a sign of production. It’s not about the amount of fruit that’s produced. It’s about whether or not we are producing something good that reflects the presence of Christ in our lives.

We’ll continue exploring the fig tree next week–stay tuned!

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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director,
Henderson Highway Church

Are We Productive?

The vibrant tree stood tall with its lush leaves. It was flourishing and full of life. Eager to satisfy their hunger, the group approached the tree anticipating its fresh fruit. They couldn’t wait to sink their teeth into some figs.

Though they got closer, it was still hard to spot fruit hanging from the tree limbs. Jesus scoured the branches, searching high and low for some sign of fruit. There wasn’t even one fig in sight!

The production process of a fig tree is a bit different than other trees. Many times, leaves appear first, followed by that tree’s fruit. However, for the fig tree, growing figs appear first, followed by the opening of its leaves.

Jesus selected the fig tree because, based on its appearance, it was supposed to have something to offer. The fullness of the leaves suggested that there was plenty of fruit to pick. Instead, there was nothing at all.

Disappointed and disturbed by this tree, Jesus said: “May no one ever eat your fruit again!”

As followers of Christ, we share some similarities with fig trees. Christianity goes much deeper than it appears on the surface.

Some of us have mastered the appearance of a Christian. We can speak with great eloquence and know the fitting scriptures to apply at the appropriate moments. We know how to walk and carry ourselves, particularly when we’re feeling blessed and highly favored. We have perfected well-timed smiles and can flit about here and there looking busy while serving the Lord.

Yet, looking like a Christian does not mean that you are living as a Christian. Being a Christian means that we’re intentional about producing fruit. Fueled by our relationship with Christ and His transformational power in our lives, we will want others to have this experience as well.

The love of Christ is meant to be shared with those around us. If when people interact with us, and they leave without being fed, nurtured or encouraged in some way, then we have not produced any fruit.

The day that Jesus and His disciples came across the fig tree, they were in need. They were hungry and needed to be fed. Because they tree did not produce any fruit, the group left this encounter in the same condition that they first arrived in.

We’ll continue exploring this fig tree lesson next week–stay tuned!

 

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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director,
Henderson Highway Church