MOMENTS WITH THE MINISTER: The fig tree said 'Not yet'

By Homer McQueen
Special to the Herald Democrat

  In the book of Mark, chapter 11, Jesus returned to Jerusalem, knowing He would be crucified in a few days.  On his second venture into the city, He saw a fig tree in the distance full of leaves.  Since He had missed breakfast, He hoped to satisfy his hunger with some fruit.  Because it was early spring, it would have been normal for the tree to have had many, few, or no leaves. The writer merely informs us the tree is apparently alive and healthy because it has leaves.  Fig trees typically do not produce fruit until summer, after the date of Christ’s ascent to Heaven.

     Why would Jesus declare death to the tree if the time of figs was not yet?  Mark 13:6-9 might provide an answer.  If God the Father owns the tree, God the Son is the Gardener, and I am- or, you are- the tree, the tree will produce fruit if it allows itself to be fertilized with the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 6:22,23)

     A friend and I were engaged in a conversation in which he led me to reveal that I knew God had a certain work for me to do- and, I would do it as soon as circumstances lined up.  He asked me “Do you mean when you get around to it?”  “Yes,” I responded.  He then reached into his pocket, pulled out a wooden disc about the size of a quarter, and handed it to me.  On the disc was printed the letters T U I T.  Having made sure I had read the disc, he said “Now that you’ve got a round tuit, you have no excuse for delay.”

      The emphasis is not that delay in doing God’s will results in you drying up from the root.  Rather, living a life of purpose is more satisfying than making excuses for failure.

     What if you are not equipped for the job? Timothy was too young to be a bishop.  Abraham was too old to father a child.  Deborah was the wrong gender to be a judge.  Gideon did not have the proper credentials to lead an army.  These and more could have told God they were not ready.  But, again and again you find that God, instead of calling the equipped, equips the called.

     Miracles still happen.  A few years ago, the Red River of North Dakota was steadily rising due to extensive snow melt. Volunteers seemed to be wasting their efforts, trying to keep ahead of the flood.  They continued praying as they reinforced the barrier.  The river literally froze due to an unexpected drop in temperature.

     Anyone can have a life of purpose. Our loving Creator wants to do great things through us.  Our first priority is to accept Jesus Christ as Lord.  His voice inside us will guide us.  By faith we can release his power to accomplish what we naturally could not do.  Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you…(James 4:8)

Homer McQueen

Homer McQueen serves as assistant pastor of Mt. Carmel Church of God in Christ, secretary at In His Shadow Outreach Ministries, chaplain for the Sherman District Parole Office, ministry volunteer for the Texas Youth Commission and Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a part-time pharmacist, and a full-time husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Herald Democrat.