Have you ever wondered when you examine your life, what you produce? I mean when you truly examine your daily words, thoughts, and actions, when the day is over, you lay down your head, what have you produced? Production is the key to anyone survival. Any society that does not produce anything will truly perish. In Luke the 13th chapter Jesus tells a parable about production. There was a fig tree that did not produce any fruit. After waiting patiently for three years the tree does not produce fruit. The land owner orders the gardener to cut down the tree. The one who tended the tree begged for one more year and pledged to take radical steps to tend to the tree’s needs. He begs for one more chance for the tree to produce.
Jesus told the parable of the fig tree to call his listeners to turn towards him and to change their minds and their hearts. The result for the fig tree and for the listeners is the same: to bear fruit. As Jesus tells the story, the hope for the changed fig tree is that it will bear fruit. He has the same hope for the human beings who would listen to his words, that they would bear fruit. The ultimate sign of our changing of the mind, our repentance, our turning in a new direction is the action of our life. It is not words. It is not opinions. It is not feelings. It is action, bearing fruit, doing some new things in our lives. The fulfillment of the call to change and repent is new action of faith in our living. As individuals, we are called to do actions of generosity, compassion, service, peace making, justice, witness and respect. These are the fruits of a life turned to God, of a mind and heart changed by the Spirit of God. As communities of faith, we are called to bear fruit as well. We are called to produce.
How do you produce you might ask?
This season of Lent is a time to take stock of our own hearts, souls and life in God. There are some steps that help us to do just that; here are some of them:
* First, acknowledge your need for God, in prayer and in your heart, acknowledge the reality of the living God and recognize your own yearning and hunger for that God in your life.
* Second, confess your sins. Tell God about the things that you do regret and want to leave behind as you turn to a new direction and embark on a new journey in your living.
* Third, accept God's forgiveness and lay claim to God's love. Truth is, God is much more ready to forgive than we are to receive that forgiveness and much more ready to love than we are to own that love.
* Fourth, change your mind, re-examine some things about your life, your priorities, and your patterns of activity. Let God renew your mind with God's grace and love.
* And finally, finally, bear fruit. Show some new actions, some new practices, patterns and behaviors that reflect the love that God has for you and the love that you have for God.
Bear fruit, produce, and take care of yourself and one another.