Summary: You were planted to produce fruit. What is your purpose, productivity and produce?
PLANTED TO PRODUCE FRUIT
A young man wanted to become a missionary. He was told to come to the missionary examiner’s home at 5:00 AM. So the next morning, with snow on the ground, the young man showed up at the home at 5:00 and rang the bell at a missionary examiner’s home. Ushered into the office, he sat three hours past his appointment time waiting for his interview. At 8:00 A.M., a retired missionary appeared and began his questioning. "Can you spell?" Rather mystified, the candidate answered, "Yes, sir." "All right. Spell 'baker.'" "B-A-K-E-R." "Fine. Now, do you know anything about numbers?" the examiner continued. "Yes, sir, something." "Please add two plus two." "Four," replied the candidate. "That’s fine," said the examiner. "I believe you have passed. I’ll tell the board tomorrow."
At the board meeting, the examiner reported on the interview. "He has all the qualifications for a fine missionary. First, I tested him on self-denial, making him arrive at my home at five in the morning. He left a warm bed on a snowy morning without any complaint. Second, I tested him on promptness. He arrived on time. Third, I examined him on patience. I made him wait three hours to see me. Fourth, I tested him on temper. He failed to show any anger or aggravation. Fifth, I tried his humility by asking him questions that a seven-year-old child could answer, and he showed no indignation. So you see, I believe the candidate meets the requirements. He will make the fine missionary we need." Spirit-given abilities are needed, but Spirit-produced fruit is more significant.
Luke 13:6 Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, `For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?' 8 "`Sir,' the man replied, `leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'"
1. Our PURPOSE - planted to produce fruit
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed (planted) you to go and bear fruit -- fruit that will last.
The characters in this parable are clear. The owner is God, the caretaker is Christ and the fig tree, from the context of the passage, is the nation of Israel. The owner expected to see figs on His tree, and had been looking for them to come for quite some time. The caretaker intercedes for the tree and works hard to try to get it to produce fruit. God had chosen Israel to be a light to the rest of the world. He expected Israel to reflect His love and character.
Isaiah 42:6 I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles.
Isaiah 49:6 It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.
Here we see that time was running out for Israel. God was about to uproot it as His chosen people. Today we as the church are called to show God’s love. We are called to bear fruit.
Grape vines are planted to bear grapes. A fig tree planted in a vineyard is expected to grow figs. A vineyard is a special place which has been prepared and is designed specifically for growing plants. It has rich soil, fertilizer, sunlight and caretakers to remove weeds and make sure that there is plenty of water. Plants grown in these ideal surroundings are expected to produce fruit.
I once read of a little boy who used to escape his bedroom after being punished. He would crawl out of his bedroom window down an old fruit tree to the ground. One day, his father told him that he was going to chop down the fruit tree, because it hadn’t borne any fruit for a number of years. That evening, the boy and his friend bought a bushel of apples, and during the night, tied those apples on the barren branches. The next morning, the man could not believe his eyes. He said to his wife, "Honey, I just can’t believe it! That old tree hasn’t yielded any fruit for years, and now it’s covered with apples. And, the most amazing thing is that it’s a pear tree!"