12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.~
It was not yet the season for figs to bear fruit. Yet, Jesus Christ cursed it for not having fruits. Why?
This is the way I see it: The cursing of the fig tree had very little to do with that tree itself – the thing had no consciousness or will; so, Jesus couldn’t have cursed it just for it’s own sake. At the moment, I think it was instead intended for those who ‘heard him say it.’ Jesus Christ was aiming to reflect God’s mind regarding certain issues: Unfruitfulness and Deceptiveness..
#1: God hates unfruitfulness
I’ve observed from the scriptures, and from human experiences, that one of the surest ways to attract God’s favour is to be successful. It seems like in order for one to be successful, one has to first of all attain some measure of success.
24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ 25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ 26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.
That is to say that if you want more to be given to you, then you must endeavour to have!
And in order to become successful, first discover yourself, then stay at the center of your expertise and competence. Try not to mess with things you lack the calling and gifting for. If God has neither gifted nor called you in an area, do all you can to stay out of there.
Of course, being talented or called in any area is no guarantee for success; diligent work is needed. Nevertheless, gifting and calling are fundamental prerequisites for success. You will neither succeed nor excel where God has neither gifted nor called you.
Have you noticed that Adam did not need to struggle in order to get a wife? He was sleeping and by the time he woke up, God brought his wife to him.
“Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” ~Genesis 2:22
My thinking is that this happened because it was God that put him there in the first place.
“Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.“ ~Genesis 2:8
I firmly believe that God’s hands will bring things to you only where His hands have put you. Otherwise, you may have to struggle to fend for yourself.
Also, I’m inclined to think that your own personal ‘Garden of Eden’ is defined by God’s gifts and callings in your life.
Gifts and callings
Let’s look at it this way: Callings and gifts are not exactly the same. Whereas gifts deal with the talents and abilities that God has deposited within you, calling deals with God Himself.
Say, for instance, you have special abilities in cooking; that could be regarded as your gift or talent. You do not need a special voice from heaven to tell you to get into the marketplace with that gift, diligently put it to work, and succeed in it.
However, when it comes to calling, the opposite holds: you do not need to possess special abilities for whatever tasks you may be assigned to. All you need is to yield to the One that called you. When you answer the call, God may tell you, “Go and cook for me.” If you do not have abilities there, you may respond with something like, “But I can’t cook!” In this case, God would assign people with the required talents to you to execute the assignment. This was the case with Moses. He was neither an eloquent speaker nor a tabernacle builder. Yet, he was assigned those two jobs by the One that called him. God then brought Aaron, Bazaliel, Oholiab, and others to help him execute the assignment.
Many of God’s children today are suffering because they are not submitted to God in this area of gifts and calling. They may think they have fully submitted to God because they sing worship songs and attend church regularly. Yet, their lives are full of suffering and frustration because they are functioning in areas that God has neither gifted nor called them. When you submit to God in the area of the gifts and talents He has deposited in you, or in His calling upon your life – just as Adam was in the Garden where God put Him — He brings your desires to you, much in the same way that He brought Eve to Adam; you do not need to run helter skelter to obtain them.
It is your responsibility to discover what you have, submit it to God, then organize your life for increase. This, I believe, is critical to fruitfulness.
#2. God hates hypocrisy
Think about this for a moment: The Wiseman, Solomon, has pointed out that there is a time and season for every purpose and activity under heaven. If it was not yet time for figs, then it was ok for that fig tree not to have any fruits. So, why then was it giving the false impression that it had fruits? What was the point in all that leafiness before its season, if it had no fruits?
Other figs were probably leafless, making the fact of their lack of fruits obvious. This particular fig, however, was appearing to be what it was not; in a sense ‘deceiving’ people!
Doesn’t that make you think of lots of folk whom you know are living in hypocrisy? Many are living in denial. All they are doing is appearing to be what they are not.
Today, lots of people in business are faking success. I heard a speaker recently tell his audience, “You’ve got to fake it till you make it.” What nonsense! While that may make a good rhyme, it comes straight from the pit of hell. There’s no point in faking anything. Don’t live a false or hypocritical life.
Even in the church, a lot of people are faking spirituality. Think of Ananias and Saphira. This is unnecessary. God values authenticity. He cannot be mocked.
This fig tree’s false leafing is also emblematic of the kind of ‘premature responsibility’ that, according to Albert Einstein, ‘breeds superficiality’ – and which ultimately breeds disaster and disgrace.
God hates falsehood and deception. Stay out of it. Discover yourself. Then keep it real.