Sunday, November 26, 2017

Making a Choice About Deadwood and the Lesson of the Fig Tree

When I bought my home, twenty-eight years ago, there was a fig tree near the barn. It had been there for decades. At first, it bore a nice crop of figs, but the yield gradually diminished. After a few years, there was essentially no yield at all. 

As the fig count waned, my frustration with the tree grew. Nothing I did helped it. I'm not an expert on trees, but it seemed clear to me that all the non-productive parts of that tree needed to go. Finally, I cut it nearly to the ground. 

A few years later Sam, my farm worker, said, "Hey, have you seen that tree you cut down? It's loaded with figs!"  

The severe pruning restored its productivity.

It's easy to allow deadwood to accumulate in our lives, but it steals our productivity, and it needs to go. In our lives, it's not only the sin and hurt (diseased branches) that need to go. The non-productive things in our lives that fail to make us more like Jesus or fail to demonstrate the love of Christ to a lost and dying world need to go, too.

Just about anything can become personal deadwood. I have a friend who said she didn't have time for daily Bible study until she realized how much time she spent reading the newspaper. When she stopped beginning her day with the news and began with the Good News through Bible study, she found she had plenty of time for God. She now has a life that bears much fruit for him.

Whatever keeps us from doing what Christ intended is deadwood. Internet browsing, Pinterest, Facebook, and shopping can all be good things. They can also be time-stealers that keep us from something better.

Let's take a few moments to look for our own deadwood in our lives and all the activities we include. Do they make us more like Jesus? Do they demonstrate Christ to a world that's perishing? 

If not, it's time for some pruning. 

Let's choose today to have a life that's green and blossoming, then do whatever it takes to get there.

What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire.” (Luke 3:9 MSG)
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: Wonder Dogs, Closing The Park, and Enjoying the Journey 

p.s. - My new website will be live in two weeks, and my blog will have a new home. In preparation for the move, I'm reviewing all my old blog posts. There've been nearly 2000 posts, but only a few will make the move. It's been freshened up a bit, but this was my first blog post, on 9/23/2013, so (of course) I'm keeping it. 

If there's a blog post that was particularly memorable or significant for you, please let me know and I'll "pack" it for the move. 


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