Say you’re house sitting for your best friend and your friend asks that you keep an eye on the house and take care of the plants in the greenhouse.You are given a list of instructions on how to mind the greenery. Your friend leaves and, for a few days, you are diligent in heading over to the house, keeping an eye on things and tending to the plants. But as the days stretch into a week and into the next, you’re less interested in taking care of the plants. They’re just house plants after all. Don’t they pretty much take care of themselves? Why bother with this long list of things to do? By the time your friend is set to return from a bit of an extended vacation, you’ve forgotten about the plants. You go through the house to check on things one last time and notice the state of the vegetation. It’s not too bad, but it’s not all that good. You swipe up the dried petals that had fallen off, toss them in the trash, and cover the evidence so you friend believes you’ve taken good care of the “kids”. The friend returns and all is well. So you think.
Several days later your friend approaches you and asks if the plants bloomed. You sheepishly nod and are forced to explain your lapse in care. While embarrassed about the situation, you don’t see what the big deal is.
As it turns out, your friend was eager to see the first harvest of fruit from the trees. Had you followed through with the care instructions, you’d have opened the greenhouse at the right time to allow bees and hummingbirds in to pollinate the buds. But you failed to followed the directive. The greenhouse remained shut up, the buds dropped off never having been pollinated. There will be no harvest.
The next time your friend goes out of town, you’re the last person on the list to watch the greenhouse.
In neglecting to follow your friend’s instructions, you’ve not only let yourself down, but you’ve lost your chance of being able to enjoy a harvest with one of the people you care for most. Did your friend stop being your friend over the whole debacle? No. But some faith and trust in you has been lost and the opportunity will not be offered to you again.
What I mean is that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation what will produce the proper fruit.
Matthew 21:43 (NLT)
While, in this scripture, Jesus was talking to the Jewish leaders, it can apply to us all here and now. If you’re one of the ones who fails to produce good fruit, there will be someone else who can come up with good fruit. If you’re not bringing in a harvest where God has planted you, He will plant someone else.
I once heard a pastor of a large, successful church in a very un-churched area say that he wasn’t by any means the first person God called to the area. He was just the first person to say yes and not quit. 20 years later, they have one of the largest congregations in the city. Where others had failed to be fruitful, he was faithful to the calling and was able to produce fruit where others said it couldn’t be done.
Are you content with leafy trees or are you willing to be patient and tend to the buds in order to produce a fruitful harvest?
Daily Bible reading: Exodus 27-28, Matthew 21:23-46