Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Poop and Fruit

Now that is probably the strangest title for a post that I've done. My students and I are reading through Luke and Acts this week. In our reading I came, again, across this text. "And he [Christ] told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’" (Luke 13:6-9).

Notice the relationship between fruit and manure. No fruit means more manure. Biblically, "fruit" means doing good works or thinking good thoughts. Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5)." Doing nothing means bearing no fruit. So, the parable in Luke 13 is warning us that doing nothing guarantees more stinky manure. When you lack good works (fruitlessness) you might need some manure. Manure fertilizes the soil. Good soil means more fruit. More fruit means you won't be wasting space in the vineyard or be cut down or cut off.

We all know that in life, "manure happens." Stinky stuff happens to us. What we fail to realize, many times, is that it is God who is doing it for our good. For "those who love God," Paul says, "all things work together for good" (Rom 8:29). God can take stinky, dirty manure and use it for good in our lives. He can use it to grow fruit. He uses it to make us grow and mature. You could say: "no stink, no sanctification." As Martin Luther beautifully put it: "This life therefore is not righteousness but growth in righteousness; not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not what we shall be but we are growing toward it; the process is not yet finished but it is going on; this is not the end but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified." Yes, manure happens, but when it does we should rejoice in the Lord of the vineyard because fruit happens as well.


Liisa said...

That is an awesome verse and explanation! I'm so glad you posted on that. That is a new look on "poop" and how it makes us grow. I like how you said," No stink, no sanctification!" You have such a way with words!

Love ya,

The Goldman Family said...

How come us mom's like this post so much...could it be because we are always in the "poop mode" dealing with kids and we can relate? HA That was a very good post Kenny! A promise that when I am stinky I can rejoice in knowing God is dealing with me and then repent that He will continue to use me and clear the stinkies! You are one great brother and an awesome Pastor!
Love ya

PS. What does it mean that I still do like the smell of little baby poop....Jeb's little yellow poopy is so sweet! :)

Grandma of Many said...

Great explanation Kenny. You sure know how to find things and explain them. Liisa and Tami are a little funny though. Love, Mom