Fig Tree

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Oh, how I love fresh figs! When I lived in Southern California at Loma Linda, I had a fig tree near by. I just could not get enough figs. I liked the kind with pink inside. Whenever I know of someone coming from California I think if only they could bring me some fresh figs.
I purchased two each of  3 different kinds of fig trees, planted them, and did all I could possibly think of with straw about them to help them make it through our cold winters here but they all died. These figs just can't stand temperatures down to minus 10 and minus 20 degrees F. Then I planted one in my greenhouse. (A greenhouse is a little shelter for plants. In parts of the world where it freezes every night and during the day, plants cannot survive unless they have a lot of shelter. I remember trying to explain this to my friends in Mexico where the temperatures never dropped lower than 55 to 60 degrees F.  Many did not have windows or doors on their homes for it was never freezing outside. They thought it was strange to have to have a house for plants. Greenhouses are often made of plastic or clear glass, or a special fiberglass. It is not green at all. My grandma had one when I was a little girl. She painted all the glass a light green so her plants would not burn. Maybe the name "greenhouse" came from that common practice. 

The poor fig tree died back a little in winter but gave me three little tiny figs fresh this last year. The bushy branches nearly made it impossible to walk inside my greenhouse. Yet the figs made it worth it all. I hope and pray for a greater harvest this year. I will give it the right fertilizer, till about the base, and clip it just right and hope for fruit. In our story of the "Porcupine Fun" on our web, under "Prayer Answers", I showed the porcupine who crawled into my greenhouse for his picture  right when I needed these for stories. The only problem was this porcupine returned during the following winter and ate the bark from the fig tree. The tree died.

Jesus tells about a fig tree that a Gardner was told to cut down. He pleaded with his master to let him do extra for that tree. He just couldn't stand the thought of cutting it down. He worked hard for a whole extra year to get it to bear fruit. Jesus was saying to the people by this parable that He would do anything He could think of to help them bear the fruits of love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, teachable ness and temperance. Jesus is the gardener who is looking for fruit of a God like character in us. If we are really like Jesus, we will plead with God to spare the people who are mean to us. If we can just pray for them another year, show them love and kindness, maybe they will change and grow fruits of love, joy, kindness, gentleness and unselfish, loving service for Jesus in mission work.
God had a good "tree" growing in the man STEPHEN. He was so special that people hated and killed him. While they were getting ready to stone him, he looked into heaven. Everyone was impressed by the light on his face. Jesus even let these mean people kill His dear special friend  Stephen in hopes that these mean ones would change when they saw Stephen's loving forgiveness. It is worded so well in the following quotation:

Stephen--"his face as it had been the face of an angel" (Acts 6:15)--bore his testimony and laid down his life. All that heaven itself could give was bestowed. "What could have been done more to My vineyard," Christ said, "that I have not done in it?" Isa. 5:4. So His care and labor for you are not lessened, but increased. Still He says, "I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day." Isa. 27:3. {COL 218.1} That is serious gardening. I never guard my tree night and day (Except in a way I do that in my greenhouse. It is protected that way). He even has His drip irrigation system! He can give us the water of life for all emergencies all day every minute! I love that picture.
"If it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that"-- {COL 218.2}...
Oh, the unsaid destruction of that tree, is not pleasant if that tree represents me, or my friend or the one I pray for mean or nice.
The heart that does not respond to divine agencies becomes hardened until it is no longer susceptible to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Then it is that the word is spoken, "Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?" {COL 218.3}
It's in the way.

One day Jesus was walking past a fig tree that had leaves on it. When there are leaves on the fig, one expects the figs are there because the figs come out on the branch long before the leaves do. When they get bigger and fatter, then comes the leaves.  There were not any figs  on that tree. Jesus was disappointed and cursed the tree. When it died so fast, the disciples looked at Jesus in surprise.  It was an acted out parable. If we do not stay connected to Jesus by spending time each morning first thing with Him, we never can grow fruit He wants to see. Then like the Gardner, He decides we are just in the way. He could have other good trees in the spot we are using. There could be a good tree that would respond to HIS gentle care, His water, His pruning, and His special formula for growth. I often have to move things out of the way in the greenhouse that just are not growing nicely. I have so many plants and so little room. Oh, I hope you will not be like the tree which never grows any good fruit. I want to be like a fig tree that can grow millions of good fruit so God can have plenty to share with anyone He wants to. I pray I will be willing to go anywhere for Him at any time, no matter how inconvenient it is.

 Can you pray with me, "Here am I, Lord, send me with your LOVE anywhere"?

In Jeremiah 24, God talks about the good figs that were taken captive to Babylon for their own good. Daniel was with that group. He was a "good fig". He prayed three times a day and was faithful to God. He was given very important jobs in government and was able to help make laws that kept his own people safer. 

I want to be like Daniel.

Think about ways you can grow good figs :

 Kind loving deeds done to make the home happier, cheerfully doing chores of keeping your room clean, picking up your clothing, and doing jobs to make life easier for your parents. You can also smile and encourage others.

Give all your special talents to Jesus. Give Him your heart first thing every morning. Even the songs you sing about Jesus, make an impression on hearts of others.

Giving your money to help mission projects or to go on mission projects is another way you can grow good figs. Instead of spending your money on yourself look for ways to spread the gospel to others.

We have a money bank to place money in that has been saved because we decided not to buy candy, or go eat out, or buy something we really did not need. In this money box, is our savings to buy Bibles and lessons and equipment for mission projects.

Click here to see the story of another thing we are doing all we can to build so more can see and hear these stories we have on web. Rocks Cry Out