Patient Witness

Then he used this illustration: "A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if he could find any fruit on it, but he was disappointed. Finally he told his gardener to cut it down, 'I've waited three years and there hasn't been a single fig !' he said. 'Why bother with it any longer? It's taking up space we can use for something else.'

'Give it one more chance,' the gardener answered. 'Leave it another year, and I'll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine; if not, I'll cut it down.' " Luke 13: 6-9 (TLB)

And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing, if we don't get discouraged and give up. Galatians 6:9 (TLB)

Elmer A. Dickson is a pastor from Florida. As a pastor, he rarely saw significant impact from his sermons, confirmation classes, home and hospital visits, radio and television broadcasts, committee meetings, or any other work.

But Jesus' parable of the fruitless fig tree in Luke 13 teaches us that we were created to be fruitful and that we should be patient and graceful toward others. Like the vineyard worker who proposed giving the fig tree more time to produce, we are called to be patient and persistent witnesses and disciples.

We may not see results at first. Someone Pastor Elmer taught years ago recently told him that as a youth she did not fully understand or appreciate his lessons, but she reread the class materials as an adult and found new meaning in them. This interaction reminded him that God will use our efforts in time.

The apostle Paul understood this when he said, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow" (1 Cor. 3:6). We are called to be faithful and to trust that God's Holy Spirit, working through many, will bring a good outcome.Let us not grow weary in doing God's work.

Prayer; We thank you, God, for the gift of salvation and the call to be witnesses in word and deed. Help us to be patient and faithful, in Jesus' name, amen.

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