The scripture for today is Matthew 21:18-22, NIV.
Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
This story in the Bible came right after the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus angrily cleared the money changers and sellers of doves from the temple. Then he found this fig tree that had produced no fruit and was therefore doomed. It is believed that both of these stories show us Jesus’ anger at the hypocrisy of the leaders of Israel at that time. Israel was created to receive the Messiah and they had failed to do so. Jesus was demonstrating to his disciples what the consequences of this failure would be. This is also a warning for the members of His church now. We can go to church, sing the songs, repeat the liturgy, but if we do not live our faith, our show of religion is empty. We were made to share our talents for the glory of God. I see so much sharing of talents at Living Lord and am so happy that the goals of our church going forward include more mission work, work in our community, and the sharing of our faith in this world. Our church is alive and growing. Let it ever be so!
Toward the end of this passage, Jesus told his disciples that if they prayed, if they believed, nothing could stop them. As I was reading different commentaries about these verses I was reminded of a truth, yet again. Praying for something does not always mean we will get it or at least not in the way we are originally thinking. What it does mean is God will give us the power to accept and be transformed in that acceptance. It gives us the strength to bear the unbearable. It does not merely allow us to sit back and be idle, but allows us to have the strength to do, when we think we can do no more. He walks with us every day of our lives, through pain and joy. Praise be to God!
Dear Lord, please give us strength and wisdom to live our faith every day. Let us be productive for You! Let us be comforted and led through your words and answers to our prayers. Amen
Karla Gerke Karla56@charter.net
Prayer Concern: Wisdom and integrity for both the religious and civic leaders in our world