Nothing but Leaves
“… he found nothing but leaves….” Mark 11:13
The contrast between the leaves and the fruit illustrates the difference between the profession of faith and the practice of faith; between believing the promise and bearing produce. The tree with its leaves promised to offer something it did not possess. The overarching emphasis of the New Testament is that a disciple is known by their fruit. To claim to be a follower of Christ yet be unproductive in His image is fruitlessness.
This fig tree was cultivated to bear fruit but instead it used up all its sap and strength to clothe, enrich and beautify itself. It tried to save its life and but instead doomed itself to fruitlessness. This is the perfect picture of a self-centered life. Fruitlessness is the result of using all of one’s power, talent, treasure and opportunity for selfish living.
What individual is not guilty of selfishness? It is taking God’s gifts and using them for self-gain without considering the will of the Giver. This is especially true of Christians.
We are products of centuries of Christian teaching and theology. We live in the full light of the finished work of Christ. We have been the recipients of salvation, multiple deliverances and unnumbered mercies. We confidently bask in the love of God, so richly demonstrated on Calvary. We have experienced His redemption and divine care. However, should Jesus look for the fruit of His work in our lives, He would often find nothing but leaves.
Scripture contains many solemn warnings that the Creator will deal with His creatures who refuse to fulfill their purpose of producing fruit. Yet in our current climate of cultural Christianity this truth has been devalued and disbelieved. Today we assume that God would never deal so harshly with people. Simply, no one is afraid of God anymore.
We have nurtured an attitude of comfort towards God, where we see Him only as a good-natured, indulgent father. We are blind to the fact that though He is our friend, He is also our King. We cannot ignore the reality that He is both Savior and Judge. The fear of Jesus finding a fruitless life in us should draw our hearts to repentance.
Are you bearing good fruit?