Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bearing fruit takes time.

"Then Jesus told this story:  'A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed.  Finally he said to his gardener, "I've waited three years, and there hasn't been a single fig!  Cut it down.  It's just taking up space in this garden."  

The gardener answered, 'Sir, give it one more chance.  Leave it another year and I'll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer..."  Luke 13:6-8

Before I share, please note that I understand that this parable was written for Israel.  However, much of what was written in the Old Testament was written to "God's chosen people,"  but we, as Gentiles, have been "grafted in" through Jesus Christ.  And so it is from this viewpoint that I write.

I confess, I enjoy reading blogs.  But just like reading the newspaper, there are ugly stories and lovely stories.  As of recent, I have been disturbed by some ugly stories concerning families who feel like their adopted children are "taking up space in the garden."

Fruit.  It is something we as parents want to see in our children.  We toil and labor daily to train our children in God's truth and righteousness that they might produce fruit.

"No discipline {training} is enjoyable while it is happening-it's painful.  But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living {fruit} for those who are trained in this way."  Hebrews 12:11

In the above parable we read about a man who planted a fig tree and daily came to see if it was producing fruit.  But, he was always disappointed.

How often can we as parents become "disappointed" when we do not see fruit in the lives of our children?  I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of this.  Our children are no different that fruit trees, they each come in different "varieties."  Some fruit trees bare fruit in six months, and yet other fruit trees take years to produce the first sings of fruit.  It is foolish of us to expect fruit prematurely in our children.  Just like it would be foolish for a farmer to expect a harvest in six months when he knew it took one year.

"So let's not get tired of doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up."  Galatians 6:9

Now, the man finally went to the gardener, ready for him to take action and "cut down the tree."  Going as far as saying that all it was doing was "taking up space" in his garden.  

I am going to be honest.  This is how I feel about children (the ugly stories I have been reading), who seem to be lacking fruit, viewed in some homes, as "just taking up space" in the family.  A disappointment.  What can you expect, many of these children have never bore fruit.  They do not know the beauty of bearing fruit.  And most importantly they have never had a "gardener" who cared enough to labour on their behalf.  We, like a farmer, must be patient--ever looking to the master Gardener!

"Always labour enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." 1 Corinthians 15:58

The parable concludes as the gardener asks the man to give the tree one more chance.  And all the while the tree would be given special attention and fertilizer.

I will not draw the conclusion that we give our children three+ years to produce fruit and then we "cut it down," however, I do believe we can apply the truth that we must not give up on our children.  There will be a day when we they will have to choose for themselves if they desire to bare fruit on their own, but until that time comes, we mustn't loose heart.  Rather, we must give them special attention and "fertilizer."  Each child is different, and therefore each child will require his/her own special attention and fertilizer.  One fertilizer that helps an apple tree could kill a peach tree.  We as the parents must choose wisely for each of our children.

"We tell others {our children} about Christ, warning them and teaching them with all the wisdom God has given us...We labour and toil so hard, depending on Christ's mighty power that works within us."  Colossians 1:28-29

Mama's I plead with you, please, do not give up on your children.  Cling to the Master Gardener and learn of Him.  Allow time for fruit to bear.  And even if "the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; and even if the olive crops fail, and the fields lie empty and barren...Yet, rejoice in the Lord.  Be joyful in the God of your salvation."  Habakkuk 3:17-18

*I am going to go out on a limb and share something.  I believe the Lord has spoken this word prophetically for someone specific.*


We Are Family said...

This post is beautiful and from the heart. I agree 100%. Blessings to you and yours. Happy to read that you all are malaria free. Praise God!

Are These Kids All Yours? said...

PRAYING for this to touch other mommy hearts. It is HARD WORK! We feel sooo insufficient so much of the time, and we wonder- are they taking up space? Are we taking up space? I ENCOURAGE ALL MOMMYS to remember that WE were bought with a price and so our children have been as well. USE HIS HANDS to guide them to where they need to be, and it may take some big time special care, but if it is for HIS KINGDOM- isn't it worth it?

Shonni said...

This is just perfect friend, and something I have thought of before. You did a great job with the verses.
And I pray whoever needed this is encouraged in the LORD.

Shonni said...

More really has become and "expectation" of what is expected, don't you think? I have thought of that before also...
more to think on..

Mama D.'s Dozen said...

Well said. Beautifully written.

I have often told young mothers that the reason I love to do crafts such as scrapbooking is because I can complete a project ... I can hold it up and say, "This looks good. I accomplished something".

Whereas, motherhood is a "craft" that is never complete ... always in progress ... one day it may look good, and the next day it may look like we totally messed up.

Motherhood is a "craft" that we must work on day after day after day, praying that the end result will be a thing of beauty.

Motherhood is a "craft" that we will never get paid for ... never earn any ribbons for ... yet it is the MOST important "craft" that we can spend our days working on (even with no tangible rewards).

There are no guarantees with motherhood, whether with our bio. children or our adopted. Motherhood will most likely be your greatest challenge, and your greatest joy, all wrapped up into one "work of art".

I have a dozen children. Six of them are young adults. They are each still a work in progress. They are still a daily challenge. Then ... there are the 6 left at home ... 6 beautiful pieces of artwork that I must tend to each and every day ... some of them are still so "rough" that we have no idea what the finished portrait will look like ... but we know that everything God has designed is beautiful ... and we know that we must work diligently to bring out the beauty in each piece of God's work.