Chaplain: Lessons from the Fig Tree
By Allen Teal, Chaplain
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 24:32, NIV).
By now, nearly everyone in North America wants the warm winds of spring to blow. We look for signs that sunny days and higher temperatures have returned. When we step outside onto our porches and decks, the air fills with the pleasant sound of birds singing. Our minds fill with thoughts of vacations, gardens and family outings. We look for changes that point toward better times ahead. In Matthew 24:32, Jesus gives us a series of metaphors for these changes.
The emergence of tender shoots signals coming change.
If we pay enough attention, the small branches on trees will start turning green as they receive freshly flowing nutrients. The change in color means new growth is happening. In every life, areas exist that have become dormant. Too many times, these activities had once ushered favorable experiences into our lives. To effect positive change, we may need to find ways to stimulate these interests. This might require taking a class or joining a group. Perhaps your church offers opportunities for personal growth that you have never pursued.
Sprouting leaves indicate summer is near.
Summer is a metaphor for something long anticipated. The end of this winter coincides with the potential of a waning epidemic. You may have a backlog of things to do. While summer has not arrived, this can be a time of preparing for better times. You may start to make plans to travel, renew face-to-face friendships, or other things that you have put off doing.
The fig tree mirrors life.
As long as the fig tree lives, it will never stop producing new branches or creating more leaves. In life, we find it easy to fall into patterns, relationships, and routines that prevent us from continuing to grow. Our lives will always be more full and enjoyable if we keep finding new ways to enrich our experiences and knowledge. With spring in the air, it is a great time to stretch ourselves in new directions or restart forgotten areas of enjoyment.