Matthew 21:18-22 – Bye Bye Fig Tree

Read Matthew 21:18-22

We are getting ready for another big purge in our household. We did one when we moved to Mexico, and now it’s time to do one again. When you aren’t using something, or when something becomes useless and doesn’t work, get rid of it. Today’s reading confirmed that for me, and it may be exactly the push I need to get started. One cool thing here in Mexico is that people re-purpose things, find new ways to use, fix the broken. Our purging will be another’s blessing and not just adding to the trash pile.

Jesus let out a little of his frustration with the poor fig tree. It didn’t have the fruit he was looking for, so he cursed it. The tree withered and died. My first impression was, “Boy that was harsh!” What if it wasn’t blooming season? But then Jesus would know that. He had no patience for this tree without fruit when his hunger was telling him to eat.

What did his friends say? Well they were amazed. Watching a fig tree wither before your eyes must have been quite a sight to behold. What did Jesus tell them? “If you have faith and do not doubt” you can do great things. He went on to say, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Now that is a promise to cling to. I have prayed for a lot of things in my life but have not always received those things. However, by not receiving them, I accept that as God’s answer to my prayer. Either I wasn’t ready or it wasn’t the best choice for me, and God stepped in and intervened on my behalf.

Should we assume our prayers are going to be answered immediately? Well, if the fig tree is any indication the answer would be yes. However, sometimes we need to persevere in our asking. We need to have faith that God is listening.

God will never give us something that contradicts his will for us or for creation. We need to be mindful of that. However, we should be working on our faith. That is something that can always be stronger and deeper. We need to seek Jesus more earnestly and trust him more completely. That’s what he desires from us. When we work on our belief, we will have confidence that his promise will come true and we will receive what we have asked for in prayer.

As faithful servants, we stop asking for the wrong things. We trust in God’s provision for the things we need. We look for God’s guidance and believe God will provide what he deems best for us. We must be ready to accept all the blessings God is ready to bestow on us through faith.

Let’s pray. Lord, forgive me when I ask for things that are only for selfish gain. I trust you to provide all that I need and to empower me to serve the needs of others as well. You have given me a job to do, and I ask for your strength to accomplish it. Thank you for all of the blessings you have given me. Help me to be mindful of what we should keep and what we should get rid of. There is plenty of stuff that could wither away, yet I hope to re-purpose it to the right people. Continue to use me to bless others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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