Thursday, May 24, 2007
In much of America, spring announces its arrival with an explosion of color. Those yellow forsythia flowers start popping out on bushes, the daffodils start to poke their heads through the ground, and the trees around our headquarters suddenly color the landscape with these delicate white flowers. Now, my wife, who must be a certified plantologist, tells me that those are ornamental pear trees. When I asked her about the "ornamental" part, she pointed out to me that while they produce beautiful flowers, these pear trees produce no pears. I guess that's why they're ornamental.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Flowers But No Fruit."
You know, God has people in His family who are like those pear trees. They look good, but they don't produce fruit. And fruit is what Jesus is interested in, not just spiritual decorations on the outside.
That's pretty obvious in our word for today from the Word of God in Luke 13, beginning with verse 6. "And Jesus told this parable: 'A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?' 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'"
Now, Jesus is the owner who comes looking for fruit. He isn't interested in all our spiritual flowers that may impress other people. Oh, it's nice that we can sing His songs, go to His meetings, give to His causes, and put Him in our busy schedule. But that's obviously not what really matters to Him. He's looking for a life that is producing lasting fruit, not just parading impressive "flowers."
So, when Jesus looks at you, does He see a follower who is fruitful or mostly decorative? When Jesus looks at your ministry, your church, does He see the fruit of changed lives or just the flowers of a busy program and some smoothly running religious machine?
Jesus wants to know what lives you're touching for Him, what lost people you're introducing to Him, how you're investing the talents He gave you in the work He wants done, whether you're living to make an impression or to make money, or whether you're living to make a difference. Including the ultimate difference you can make in anybody's life; pouring yourself into the lives of lost people around you so you can help some of them go to heaven with you.
What if Jesus came to you like it says here in the parable and He said, "I've been coming to look for fruit here for a long time and I haven't found any." I wonder if He would say to you, "One more year. Let's see what you do with these next few months ahead. I'll be back then to see what kind of fruit you have to show for all that I have poured into your life."
You can't have any of those fruitless years back. They're gone - they're over. But you can decide today that you are going to make a far greater difference with the rest of your life than you've ever made before!