“Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. ‘Then he said to it, ‘May you never have fruit again!’ Immediately the tree withered.” Matthew 21:18-19
As a little girl, I remember being so hungry coming into the house after school. Sometimes, when I would open the door, the aroma of something cooking would almost knock me over. I would rush to the kitchen, only to find whatever was cooking in the beginning stages of being done. The smell tricked me into thinking it was ready for consumption, but upon closer inspection it offered me nothing.
Jesus experienced the same thing one morning as He was coming back into the city. He was famished, and in the distance was a green and leafy fig tree. I can imagine that He picked up the pace and could already taste the fig in His mouth. When He got to the tree the reality was that there were only leaves…no fruit existed…barren and empty…all for show. This angered the Lord, which caused Him to curse future fruit upon the tree.
The Bible states that every one of us is recognized by our fruit. ‘Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.’ Matthew 12:33. It goes on to state that we are ‘a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor’ Isaiah 61:3.
We are much like this fig tree as Christ comes towards us, hungry for us to produce fruit. He knows that He has planted us in the right soil and sent the rains upon our lives to grow our faith, but will He find fruit? Will we look faithful from afar but upon closer inspection be fruitless? When the drought comes into each of our lives, will we still bloom? Will we display His splendor both in and out of season?
These are the questions that must be answered in each of our lives. If we do not bear the fruit of our faith, then we cannot provide anything for others when they are hungry. From afar they approach us to find encouragement and nourishment for the soul. What will our offerings be to the hungry person in our lives? May our offerings be not for show but for comfort in dealing with those hungry and hurting people around us. How we feed and nourish others in all times is how we feed Christ. 'I tell the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me' Matthew 25:40.
May all of us produce the fruit that fills and satisfies the growling stomach of Christ.
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