Yep! You read that right…..manure.
When you think of manure,
what comes to your mind?
Yeah, mine, too.
Not a pretty picture, is it?
While manure may not be pretty on the eyes or easy on the nose, it does serve a vital purpose. In fact, it is one of the most commonly used forms of fertilizer around.
World English Dictionary defines fertilizer as: any substance, such as manure or a mixture of nitrates, added to soil or water to increase its productivity.
Which brings us to Luke 13 and a particular fig tree.
The owner of this tree had been waiting three long years for this fig tree to live up to its name and produce some figs. Three long years! Now, I don’t know much about fig trees, but it is obvious from the owners reaction that this tree had grown to a level of maturity capable of producing fruit. But it wasn’t. And this owner was disappointed, to say the least.
So he said to the vinedresser, See here!
For these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and I find none.
Cut it down!
Why should it continue also to use up the ground [to]deplete the soil,
intercept the sun, and take up room]?
Not only was the owner upset with this tree, he no longer felt it was worth cultivating. He was ready to cut it down! But wait….the vinedresser, the one who was in charge of nurturing and growing this fig tree, wasn’t ready to call it quits. He knew this fig tree had the potential to bear fruit and he wasn’t ready to give up on it.
The vinedresser decided it was time for some manure.
I’ve got a question for you:
How long have you been a Christian?
How long have you been rooted and grounded in the soil of God’s love?
And…………hmmm……….well, how much fruit have you produced?
As I look back on my own life, I have to admit, it was during the manure-caked times of my life that I produced the most spiritual fruit. I have a feeling you will discover the same is true in your own life.
Sure, we all like the good times. We don’t like life to get messy. We especially don’t like it when life dumps manure on us. Yet, could it be, that this manure is a gift from the vinedresser himself? Could it be that without it we will never live up to our spiritual potential?
I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.
Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing]He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit,
to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.
~John 15:1,2, The Amplified Bible
What does it take for you to bear fruit?
Has your life been full of manure lately?
Maybe the vinedresser is simply applying some fertlizer. He sees your potential to bear spiritual fruit and he isn’t ready to give up on you.
You have been showered upon with Christ’s blessings,
you have felt the warmth of His love as it has illuminated your heart and life,
and you have grown deep into the soil of His word.
It is time to start producing fruit! It is time to start living up to your name as a disciple of Christ and to start making some disciples. It is time to do that for which you were created to do!
Manure. Not something we like, but oftentimes something we need, especially if we are ever going to produce spiritual fruit.
How do the “manure times” of our life help us to produce fruit?
How can our suffering bring others to Christ?
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy!
God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times,
and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, The Message
As you grow through the hard times you can be sure these times have not come to you in vain. What Satan means for your harm, God will ALWAYS use for HIS good and HIS glory. Allow the manure to produce fruit in you and in those around you. Use these times of testing, trials and suffering to minister to those around you.
Are things a bit messy in your life right now?
Can you see and smell the manure?
Then give thanks.
The vinedresser is at work.
He is lovingly cultivating you and graciously giving you what
you need to be fruit-filled and fruitful.
When you bear (produce) much fruit,
My Father is honored and glorified,
and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.
~John 15:8, The Amplified Bible