My Fig Tree

                                                                                            Marilyn Bennett

I did not plant the fig tree in my backyard, but every year I have seen an abundance of figs except for last year when not a single fig grew on my tree. This year figs are abundant again. I am not a fig tree expert, but I think I understand what David was saying about the “person who is like a tree planted by streams of water which yielded its fruit in season.”  

Blessed is the one

who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take

or sit in the company of mockers,

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked!

They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

When I memorized this psalm as a child, I thought it meant that I should stay away from the wicked, the sinner, or the mocker. Yes, I needed to be careful about the company I kept. This is common sense. Yet, I have observed that many of “the righteous” have become so separated from “the wicked” that we no longer know how to interact with them. Many of us have become disconnected from the very people God wants us to reach.

When Jesus commanded us to love God and our neighbor, he meant for us to go out and meet our neighbor. When those who live in Sun City say “our neighbors do not meet anymore,” I want to say, “What are you doing about that?” Have we lost our desire to love our neighbors? This is in direct opposition to what God has asked us to do.

Some of us are better at making friends than others. If you do not know what to say to your neighbor, write down a list of things you can ask. Ask them where they were born, where they were raised, where they went to high school, how they entered a career, or about their children. Ask them about their hobbies or how they like being retired. Ask about their favorite song, movie or book. Patiently listen to their story and acknowledge their feelings about serious issues. Be truly interested. Find ways to share what God has given to you or has done for you.

Instead of being upset no one has invited you to their house or out to lunch or for coffee, do the inviting yourself.

I was surprised when an atheist who knew I was a pastor invited me to join a group of atheists. Later she invited me to lunch to explain she was very upset about “those people” at “that church” who were mean to her because she was an atheist. I listened to her voice her beliefs and opinions even though she knew I did not agree with them. This opened the door. I was different than Christians she met at “that church.” I cared about her. She wanted to know me. Have you invited an atheist to lunch just to get to know them better? Though I found it scary, I kept up the relationship.

Two of my neighbors became widows around Christmas. I called or texted them to see how they were doing. I brought them food. I visited with them. I invited each of them to lunch. When the pandemic hit, we were back to communicating only by phone. A month ago I invited both of them to my patio. The next week we decided to bring our lunch. We enjoyed it so much we decided to meet every week. When we talk about God or difficult political or ethical topics we agree to not agree. We respect each other and we listen. I pray every day I will find ways to engage them, listen to them, and love them in Christ. We even named our time together. We call it “Wonderful Wednesday” and we have invited two more women to join us.

In the first Psalm, the righteous who delight in the law of the Lord are blessed with fruit.

The amount of fruit a tree produces is directly related to its source of water. The water to which the psalmist refers is delighting in God through his Word.

I pray you will prosper in the knowledge of God by reading and meditating on His Word and become fruitful ambassadors for Jesus Christ. As I wait for the delicious figs to fall, I pray for God’s fruit to fall from me as I love others with God’s help for His glory.


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