December 20, 2009

Leave It Alone

Luke 13:1-9

“Leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.”
Luke 13:8


Are there people you want to give up on? There’s a child who will not get his life together after many false starts and broken promises. There’s a boss who makes your life difficult and won’t get off your back. There are neighbors you would love to help pack up their belongings and move to another part of the country.

To us, the world would be better off if certain people were nowhere near us. Besides, they are just bad people, right? It seems to make good sense to be rid of them.

Jesus knows our tendency to make judgments that way. But in our judgmental attitudes, are we forgetting our own need for repentance?

Jesus told a parable about a fig tree to point out that all sinners need the mercy of God. The people were forgetting that they were sinners too.

The gardener in the parable had the vision and patience to give an unfruitful tree more time to bear fruit. He watered, fertilized, and pruned the tree with great care, hoping for fruit in the next season.

We need to treat the people around us with love and patience. In a way like the gardener, we need to give extra care to people that we don’t like to put up with.

Could God be calling us to show them love so that they (and we) could bear (more) fruit? Grace was never meant to be fair, or it would not be grace.

Thank you, Father, that your grace is not merely efficient. We know it is amazingly generous, and we receive it. Help us to share your love graciously with others too. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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