Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Road to Emmaus

Luke tells us in chapter 24:13-34 an extraordinary story that speaks volumes about the way Jesus reveals Himself to us. These two men were, most likely, escaping Jerusalem after the events of the crucifixion because they probably didn’t feel safe there. They might have been going back home too. Who knows? The thing is that they were on their way to a village called Emmaus. On the road, as they were walking, feeling sorry for themselves and for everything that had transpired back in Jerusalem, a mysterious man joins them.

Of course, we know the mysterious man is Jesus, Himself! He walks with them and talks to them. He opens up Scripture to them. He makes the Word become alive right in front of their faces. The two men, however, cannot recognize Him. They encounter the Divine on their path of sorrow, but they cannot see it. Their eyes were blurry with pain and tears for the great loss they had suffered. Their hope was gone and their souls were downcast.

Can’t we all testify to a moment like that in our lives, can we?

Don’t we find ourselves often on the road to our own private Emmaus? 

There we are…dragging our feet on the road marked with sorrow, pain, shame, loneliness, illness, poverty, anguish, anxiety, instability, frustration, depression, fear, doubt, abandonment…the dirt of the road sticking to the sole of our shoes and the salty taste of sweat mixed in with tears dripping down our mouths. Our arms limply hanging by our sides as our eyes want to poke a hole on the ground where we can hide for a long while.

The road to Emmaus is not a happy one. It is not a road filled with joy and carelessness. It is a path of struggle. It’s the road of the fugitive.

Even there, however, in the midst of our distraction, Christ finds us. Even there, as we walk immersed in our own self-pity and misery, the Light of the World shines for us. Even there, as we wander lost, trying to escape…the True Way shows up. 

At the appointed time, at the precise right moment, Jesus reveals Himself and the veil is torn from our eyes. Just like with the two men on the Road to Emmaus, our eyes are blurred as our heads hang low. We are not able to see Him. But as He has walked with us for a while and we are ready to commune with Him, it is in the intimacy of the relationship that He shows Himself…and that’s when we say: “were not our hearts burning within us while He talked…” Were we not on fire as He walked with us?

Knowing the Truth doesn’t mean, however, we would be spared from walking the road to Emmaus. Sooner or later we might have to, anyway. Knowing the truth means that when we are on it, we don’t lose hope, for Hope walks with us, even if we can’t feel Him. He is always with us even when we don’t see Him. He is always on the road with us, even when we think we are alone. He is always the Light, even in the darkest night of our souls. 

It is true, the Lord has risen. He has risen, indeed!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Do I Need A Lot of Money?

At our family Easter dinner I sat with our nephew, Tyler, a 19 year-old young man full of the joy of youth and the blessing of a tender heart. As part of our conversation, I asked him about his professional plans for the future (what else would a college professor ask about, right?) I listened to him elaborate about his options and alternatives. At the end he wrapped it up with a statement that has stayed with me since. He said, “I don’t need a lot of money to be happy.” 

My first reaction when I heard Ty said that was laughter. I remember I told him, “well, just be very careful who you choose as your wife because she may not feel the same way.” WOW! how profound…of all the things I could have said, that’s what I came up with…

Today I realize that the reason I said that was because of me. I thought of myself and how I would not have chosen a husband who would think that way. The hypothetical “future wife” that came to mind was a woman who would think like me, and who would value the same things I value. I was thinking of a woman who, like me, would value more the material world than the precious heart of a good, godly man. Yeah…I feel convicted to say the least.

There are countless passages in the Bible about the poor and the rich. In all of them, it is the rich who comes out at the bottom. I have been thinking about this, and I see that in the Bible, the poor many times refers to those who are indeed hungry for the Lord. Therefore, they are those who long for the spiritual riches that only God can provide. Their hunger can only be satisfied by a Spirit that overflows their soul, and ultimately, by being in the presence of the Most High in Heaven. The poor are those who live by the Spirit.

The rich are those who live by the material world and whose only pursuit is that of wealth and worldly living. Whereas being “poor” or a person who lives by the Spirit leads to a life free from the snares of money, being “rich” or a person who lives by the material world only leads to slavery. The rich are enslaved to a pursuit of things that can never satisfy. The riches they are after can never fill their souls because our souls are spiritual and meant to be filled by God. Therefore, chasing after the world only leaves them wanting more. Their reward is on earth and they don’t go joyfully to the grave. They go with resentment for they never surrendered their journey to He who is in charge. Not only that, but they live their lives away from faith and easily fall in the path of evil and misery, like we read in 1 Timothy 6: 10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Today, as I meditate on my nephew’s statement, I realize how my own desire for the material has warped my vision and my ability to appreciate the simplicity of contentment. I praise God for him and I pray He will guide Ty as he pursues what really matters...

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called. First Timothy 6: 11-12a

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Changing Perspectives

Easter was just a couple of days ago. The day we celebrate Our Risen Lord was a beautiful day here on our neck of the woods. We had the pleasure of hosting our family for a great dinner and some fun time. 

Besides a day to enjoy our family, Easter was also a day to realize the blessings in our lives. It was a day to consider or reconsider, rather, the way I go about my days. It was a day to realize that I usually worry too much about what I lack and forget to be thankful for what I do have. I caught myself complaining in my mind about all the stuff I needed to do, and the things I needed to get, and the work I needed to finish, rather than sitting back and appreciating all that I had done already.

I went through my long “to do” list and my eyes immediately went to the items not crossed out. Right away I became anxious and worried. After a few seconds, however, my eyes drifted to the things that I had checked off the list already and as I pulled away, I saw, very clearly that there were definitively more things that I had accomplished than those still to do…

Then, at that moment, I got it…that is how I live my life. I live my life constantly worrying about the negative. I worry about what I have not finished, and forget what I have completed. I worry about what I don’t have and ignore what I do have. I worry about the “what ifs,” and take for granted my reality. I worry about the problems and pay no attention to the blessings.

I don’t want to live like that anymore. I am tired of worrying. I really am. 

I don’t want the peace that a completed “to do” list will bring. I don’t want the peace that a test result may offer. I don’t want the peace that material things may provide. They are all temporary fixes. I want a peace that lasts.

I want the peace that transcends all understanding. I want peace like a river. I want the permanent peace that only His presence can afford. 

How do I get that? Trust and surrender are key but also a change of perspective is needed. I need to change my perspective from a negative-oriented vision, to a focus on the blessings. I want to have the love and discipline to thank Him for what He has given me, and trust Him for what I lack. I want to make sure I appreciate all that He has done for me, and surrender the rest. I want to let Him be God and in the meantime, just be still.

At the end of the day, after the family was gone and it was just us home, my older son, Grant asked us when we could have the family over again for another holiday. We said, as soon as possible!

It was truly a wonderful day, and I want to make sure I thank the Lord for it, a true reminder of His infinite love for us, back then as He hung on the cross, as well as today, as He hangs out in His throne.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103: 1-5

Friday, April 18, 2014

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3: 16

The ultimate expression of love…that’s what makes today a Good Friday.

We remember what Jesus did for us, and we humbly praise Him for His sacrifice…His completely undeserving gift…

… God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 8

As we contemplate the cross today, let’s remember He did this for us…He did it for me…He thought of me, and you as He hung on the tree.

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

When I survey the wond'rous cross on which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God;
All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.

See, from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down;
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.

Demands my soul, my life, my all. Love so amazing demands my all.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

He Did It First

Jesus took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13: 4

The very familiar scene for all Christians comes to our minds and hearts once again today as we commemorate Maundy Thursday. The Lord of all lords and King of all kings…the Creator and Sustainer of life, takes the lowest position at His dinner party. The reason? To set an example for His followers…

“Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13: 13-17

He knew that His disciples would have no clue as to why He washed their feet. He knew they thought He was out of His mind for putting Himself at the level of a slave or a lowly servant. That is exactly, however, what Jesus wants us to emulate. He wants us to be servants. But, unlike any other earthly master, He would not ask us to do anything He would not do Himself. As the greatest of Teachers, He models the lessons Himself first. Therefore, He demonstrates what He requires us to become, by becoming it Himself first. And the demonstration didn’t end with the washing of the feet. He also shows us that the journey of the Christian life leads to Calvary… 

…and it all rests on love. The service He wants from us is the service inspired by the kind of love that He displays for us on the Cross. The love that is Him, for He is Love and without Him we would not know what love really is.

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4: 19

When we are in the midst of the difficulties of Christianity, let’s remember…Our Master, Our Lord, Our King, Our Teacher did it first…

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Palm Sunday is the day we remember Jesus’ entering Jerusalem to be crucified. We call it His Triumphal entry because the way He entered was very symbolic. It fulfilled Zacharias 9: 9

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

The people along Jesus’ path did not miss the symbolism and they rejoiced with His appearance by waving palm branches and laying their coats and blankets on the road. They celebrated Him as their Messiah who would come to deliver them from the Roman Empire which oppressed them. They exalted Him as a new leader who would charge the rebellion that would liberate the people of Israel from the years of occupation and abuse. They saw Him as the earthly King to their earthly kingdom of their present. They saw Him as a political figure. I guess they missed the part where it said He was “righteous and humble.” Don’t they realize you cannot mix the concepts of politics, righteousness and humbleness together in one sentence?

So how can we say that this entry was triumphal if it ended with Jesus nailed to the cross?

It was triumphal because it foreshadowed Jesus’ entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. This was but a pale picture of the victory that Jesus accomplished on the cross and of the day He is crowned King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Jesus humble entry into Jerusalem is nothing but a poor reflection of His glorious entry into the New Jerusalem.

In His humble estate as a man, Jesus entered the Holy City to be slaughtered. He self-restricted the Word that speaks the universe into existence, and the power that sustains life so He could embrace His humanity and fulfill the Father’s plan. This is the triumph of this event. The Divine walking on Earth’s ground to save us, undeserving breed.

To add to the depth of such statement, He did not do it just for the nice, the good or the lovable. He did it for me too, the angry, the bitter, the unlovable…the sinner.

Therefore, the triumph of His accomplishment transfers also to us who receive Him. He overcomes the world so we can too.

That is why we rejoice today, for our King is coming to us!

Linking with:  Whole Hearted Home and Little R and R

Monday, April 14, 2014

Do They Know?

As we were going to church yesterday, we drove by a golf course that was packed full of cheerful golfers about to begin their game. At that moment, Dylan, my eight-year-old surprised me with a question: “do they know about Palm Sunday?”

I pondered the question for a minute, and then said: “probably not…unfortunately. That is why we are told by God to tell people about Jesus and about His love.” 

We arrived at church, went to Sunday school, Service and then lunch. With all the activities, I didn’t think about the golfers or Dylan’s question any more…until now.

The scene replays in my mind: my young son attentively looking out the window of our car, seeing all the people gearing up to enjoy a beautiful Sunday morning on the golf course…to then wonder… “do they know about Palm Sunday?”

Children always see things through a different glass…one that is not distorted by the world. I have to admit that I did think to myself that the golfers should be in church rather than at the golf course…but mine were not the most compassionate thoughts. I thought about it with an attitude of disdain for them. It was the classic, “holier than thou” perspective. Whereas Dylan was genuinely worried about them, about the implications that not going to church on a Sunday, especially on Palm Sunday may have on the state of their souls.

Today, I am challenged by my lack of concern. Mainly also because the main point discussed at Sunday school yesterday was paying attention that we see people as having souls…as spiritual beings, not just as props on our way. How quickly I forget…

I walk around this earth forgetting that all those I meet on my way are living vessels that contain the very essence of God. Therefore, I rarely concern myself with the potential lost state of their souls. I see them as objects that I pass by. I see them as part of the material world with whom I may, perhaps, never interact. 

No wonder I am a terrible ambassador for Christ. The great commission of making disciples is lost in me. I have always rationalized my lack of ability to evangelize by saying that I do not have what it takes or that I am way too self-conscious to put myself out there, exposed to rejection and ridicule. Today, I think, however, that most of my unwillingness to tell others about Christ derives from my lack of attention. I do not see others as spiritual beings with an eternal soul which may be lost to an eternity without God. And I don’t see myself as an instrument that God can use to reach them. My pride and self-image trump any faint desire I may have to put myself in God’s hands and joyfully allow Him to do His will through me. 

I pray this Holy week that my heart can be softened to the needs of others. That the Lord, who sees it all, may give me His eyes, so I can see too. That I may have a mind like my son’s, the mind of a child, to recognize the soul in those I pass by.

Linking with: Monday Musings

Friday, April 11, 2014


Have you ever wondered about how missionaries follow God’s call to the ends of the world…literally? I do…all the time…

I hear and read about their stories from the comfort of my home and through the convenience of my laptop. I get to see pictures of their projects and the people they serve in my Facebook wall and in their blogs. I marvel at how they endure severe illness as they lack for the most basic necessities; but still, never consider quitting as a possibility. The strength of their spirit surely does come from within. It comes from the Holy Spirit that lives within, that is. I don’t think any human being can last too long without the supernatural strength that comes directly from the Divine.

Then, I consider the reality that such strength is not just given to missionaries in the remote corners of Haiti or the inhospitable regions of Muslin ruled countries like Sudan. The Holy Spirit dwells in the soul of every child of the Most High. His strength is in us, reaching us here in the land of comfort as well. God’s grace showers us wherever He finds us, and once He finds us, it is impossible to resist Him. It is impossible not to follow Him be it to the corner coffee shop for some one on one evangelism to our friends, or to the corners of a distant land where entire villages haven’t heard of Christ.

Once we’ve heard His voice in our soul…once we’ve seen His face with the eyes of our heart, it is impossible to resist Him…it is impossible not to follow Him. We see it in the Bible countless of times. One occasion that jumps at me now is the passage about Bartimaeus, the blind, beggar man sitting by the roadside who began to cry out to Jesus as He and His followers were leaving Jericho. He asked Jesus to have mercy on him. Jesus then asked him in reply, “what do you want me to do for you?” and Bartimaeus said without hesitation, “Rabbi, I want to see.” Jesus healed him and the man “immediately” after he received his sight, “followed Jesus along the road.” (Mark 10: 46-52)

This formerly blind, beggar did not think twice. As soon as He saw Jesus’ face, he joined Him. The very sight of Christ’s presence was enough to know that there was nothing else for him to do, but to follow Him.

Sometimes, I cover my own eyes to avoid seeing. Sometimes the world wraps a thick veil around my head as it spins me into confusion and blurriness. Like this man, all I want is to “see.” I want to see Him. I want Him to heal my blindness and allow me to see His face. I want to follow Him along the road. I don’t want to be hindered by the things of this world. I want to be free to follow Him, who has given me my sight.

Whereas to the ends of the world, or to the end of the road, with His presence going before me and my sight restored, I too can follow Him wherever He may lead me.

Linking with:  Essential Thing Devotions

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Extravagant Giver

I’m still thinking about the passage of Mary anointing Jesus with the expensive nard in John 12: 1-8. At this time, this passage makes me turn my eyes onto the offering. That was no simple jar of cologne. What Mary offered to her Lord that evening at her house was a precious and very costly gift, worth about a year’s wages! Not only was it valuable in money, but also in significance. That was the type of perfume used to anoint the body for burial. It was also most likely part of her dowry. 

She didn’t care. To Mary, tending to Jesus’ needs at that precise moment, about a week short of His crucifixion, was way more important than any earthly treasure.

Her selfless actions make me think of my own offerings. Often, I am reluctant to give because I am afraid. Be it giving my money, my time, my talents, I am nervous to offer them, may I need them later. I am hesitant to give of myself because I don’t trust the Lord’s Provision. It’s just as simple as that.

I justify my reluctance to give by thinking that not everyone is able to afford giving in the capacity that Mary did. After all, she had no kids to feed and clothe. She had hardly any bills to pay, her brother took care of her. She didn’t have to put away money in her 401K or college fund. Not everyone has such a comfortable life…not many of us can afford to be such free-spirits. What I forget is that we can all give with abandon regardless of our situation. While not everyone could give such an extravagant gift as Mary did, to some extent, however, we all can be extravagant givers.

It is not about the monetary value of the gift. It is about what it costs us. It is about the value that it has to us. I am very selfish with my time. I have my own agenda. Every day I have a list of things I want to accomplish. Rarely, I find in that list anything that has to do with selfless giving of my time to others. Hardly ever have I written on that piece of paper anything like: “Time to spend with the Lord.” I don’t remember ever writing a line item that reads: “time for ministry.” In my case, I am ashamed to say, I rather give money than my time. It is easier for me to write a check than to say: “I’ll do it.” 

Don’t get me wrong…I still have a very hard time parting with money, but it is not as valuable to me as my selfish pursuit of “me time.” 

My inability to become a cheerful giver of my time results from my inability to fully accept the fact that everything I have belongs to the Lord. I am just a steward, and a rather inefficient one. I am nothing but an administrator of all the gifts He has given me. My job is to figure out, through listening to the Holy Spirit, how He wants me to use all that He has given me while I am still on this side of Heaven. My job is not to become enslaved to the gifts I’ve received. My job is to realize that He gives and He takes away. If I run out of something, He’ll provide for it some other way. 

The extravagant giver knows all these and just gives. He/she gives himself, and that is the most fragrant offering the Lord would ever want to receive. He doesn’t need anything we have. He wants us. He wants all of us: our lives, our possessions, our family, our children, our house, our time…all of it…

God wants us to live abundant lives in Him, trusting His provision and having no other master than Himself. All for Him, and to Him.

Linking with: Whole Hearted Home

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Not What I Deserve...

Sometimes I catch myself consumed by the way of thinking that produces statements like: “I work hard, so I deserve to get that overpriced patio furniture,” or “I’m a good person, I obey the law, I respect others, so I deserve to get a break in life.” The one that troubles me the most, however, is: “I am a child of God and I serve Him and His people faithfully; therefore, I deserve to cruise through life without running into any misfortune.” 

I begin to get caught up in this web of misguided thoughts when I forget that by the grace of God I don’t get what I really deserve! 

The Bible tells us how nobody meets the standard of righteousness:

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… Romans 3: 23 

Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. Ecclesiastes 7: 20 
On our own, we can never become who we need to be in order to be justified. Salvation is only possible thanks to the redeeming power of Christ. Regardless of how good we think we are, we are never good enough to save ourselves. No amount of good deeds we accumulate could ever buy us heaven. It is only by the precious blood of Jesus that we are cleansed. It is by Jesus’ righteousness that we are admitted into the presence of the Most High. 

Jesus did come to give us life and life in abundance; but it is a gift. Therefore, the sense of entitlement must be eradicated and replaced by a deep sense of humility and gratitude. This realization is what moves us to humbly thank Him for we don’t get what we really deserve.

Friday, April 4, 2014

There Is Something About Mary...

There were several Marys’ who walked alongside Jesus during His journey on this earth. His earthly Mother, for one, began the line of Marys’ in His life. Today I would like to look at Mary the sister of Lazarus and Martha. The one who wouldn’t help out at the dinner party...the one who stayed behind, crying at the death of her brother...the one who broke the jar of expensive perfume...the one whose favorite place was at the feet of Jesus. There is something about this Mary that intrigues me. 

Is it her lack of common sense? Is it her impracticality? Is it her disregard for material things? Is it her disdain for the rigid rules and conventions of her society? Yes, yes, yes and yes. However, all of these could be combined into one, her heart. Mary’s heart is like a well-tended garden always in bloom! She is a vessel filled with the Holy Spirit. Through her actions, we learn fundamental lessons about how to have a heart after His own heart.

Today, I am looking at Mary’s anointing of the Lord. In John 12: 1-8, the Apostle gave his witness account of this event as follows:

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

There is so much to talk about in this passage, but at this time I would like to focus my eyes on Mary’s actions. Apparently, she didn’t learn the lesson from the previous event when Martha complained to Jesus about her for not helping out with the dinner party (Luke 10: 38-42). Once again, while her sister was, one more time, busy taking care of the guests and Lazarus was launching with the boys, Mary was in her front row seat, at Jesus’ feet.

In this occasion, however, Mary was not just sitting there, basking in Jesus’ presence. That day, less than a week before Christ’s agony and death, Mary was tending to the Lord’s needs. She knew that Martha would manage serving the guests beautifully; after all, that’s what Marthas know how to do best! Mary also knew that her brother Lazarus would take care of the entertainment; after all, he’s gotta have some juicy tales from the crypt. Therefore, Mary’s focus was Jesus, and only Jesus. Her total disregard for what people may think of her (showing her hair alone was a huge no, no in the Jewish culture back then), plus her total disdain of material things (the pure nard she poured on Jesus was probably part of her dowry) show how her heart was clearly tuned into the Lord’s. Her actions demonstrate that her priority was to seek Him and serve Him in His hour of need. 

Can you imagine knowing that soon you will be going through horrendous physical and spiritual agony to the point of the most gruesome death? Can you imagine the anguish of knowing that such a thing is coming to you in a few days? As a man, fully human, Jesus must have felt the sting of anxiety at those moments when this crucial part of God’s plan was about to be fulfilled in Him. Therefore, I can’t help but thinking that to Him, Mary’s selfless gesture of deep love and compassion was most welcome. That’s why Jesus so adamantly said: “leave her alone,” when the disciples suggested a big error in her ways. He needed that moment. He needed to feel the gentle oil covering his tired feet. He needed to breathe in that fragrance that filled the room; and so did the Father in Heaven. The aroma of such perfume ascended to His Heavenly throne to remind Him of the love that leads to enduring what’s to come. 

At any rate, I don’t know if I’m right; but I like to think that the reason that Mary has always intrigued me is because I long to be like her…completely focused on what really matters…completely focused on my Lord.

Linking with: Essential Thing Devotions and Fellowship Fridays16/

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Fig Tree

Usually, I’m a pretty short-tempered person. Everyone in my house knows it. They also know that my lack of temperamental sweetness gets aggravated when I’m hungry. That’s why when “Mama” says that she is hungry, those who hear her roar, don’t dare to interfere with her pursuit for sustenance. 

Tucked in Mark, chapter 11, verses 12-14 there is a passage about Jesus that, when I read it lightly, at first glance it made me chuckle a bit. I chuckled because it reminded me of my “condition.” 

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 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. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

Cursing the fig tree, however, was not Jesus’ irrational response in a moment of hunger. It was rather a symbolic gesture foreshadowing the future of the nation of Israel. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says that Jesus “made this fig-tree an example, not to the trees, but to the men of that generation. It was a figure of the doom upon the Jewish church, to which he came seeking fruit, but found none.” Jesus’ sentence to Israel comes right before He overturned the tables of the money changers and drove away the vendors at the temple. This was Jesus' way to expose Israel’s wickedness hidden behind empty religiosity.  This was His way to urge them to turn to Him and love Him.  But repentance never came, and instead, they put Him on the cross.  

Israel as a nation did not listen, and for that, they have missed out on knowing the truth that the Messiah they have been waiting for is already here. 

Today, I see this passage as a warning to me as well. Jesus warns me to open my eyes and see Him. He warns me of the consequences of not allowing the Holy Spirit to grow His fruits in me. He warns me of the fate that awaits me if I refuse the cleansing of my spirit and the change of my fallen ways.

As Lent continues to usher us into Easter, I recognize that I too, like the fig tree, am nothing but leaves. From the distance, I may seem lush, but in reality, I am not in season yet. I am not even in bloom. I’m still stuck in winter inside, asleep and unfruitful. Therefore, I pray to The Only One who can make something out of me. I lift up my eyes to Him who transfers His righteousness unto me and gives me the strength to carry on with the work of His Kingdom, that He may transform me into that tree full of His fruit for the benefit of His beloved.

In the meantime, I will try to start by measuring my grumpiness at mealtime….

Linking with:  Whole Hearted Home and Little R and R