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.
Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Henderson Highway Church
Read more about the fig tree:
Part 1: Are We Productive?
Part 2: Seasonal Produce