Day 8: Have Faith and You Shall Bear Fruit
Mark 11:20-24 (ESV)
As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
This is a difficult Scripture to figure out, and we must go back to Matthew and dig deeper to get some clues.
Matthew 21:18-22 (ESV)
In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Jesus had worked up an appetite, he was hungry and went to the tree only to find that it had leaves but was not bearing fruit. If a fig tree has nice leaves, but does not produce any figs, what good is it? I think Jesus did this for his disciples and for you and me. After he cursed and destroyed the tree, he told them that their faith could do even more, even move mountains. Yet I see a warning in the story as well. The fig tree had leaves but did not bear fruit in season, at a time of year certainly that it should have been bearing fruit. I believe this is a warning to the disciples and us, that our life is short and we have a short season to bear fruit, to do his will. The fig tree had a season, and as they say in Iowa, my home state, we need to make hay while the sun shines. If we do not bear fruit while we are alive, we never will. As a Type 1 diabetic for 48 years, I know my time of sunshine and making hay is short, and that is one thing that drives me to do God’s will and finish well. How could you make hay while the sun is shining?
Rev. Andy Bales
President/CEO of Union Rescue Mission