Mission Devotional - August 10, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, your deepest desire for us is that our lives would produce fruit, which is the direct result of us abiding in you, the Vine. Help us to never be content with fruitless lives, because fruitless lives show us direct evidence of the fact that we are not abiding in you. Grow your good fruit in us this day. Amen.

Scripture: Mark 11:11-26

Journal: What is the state of your tree these days? Your temple? Where do you see fruitfulness in your life? Where do you notice the lack of it? How do you think Jesus feels about that?

Reflection: The fig tree was a symbol of the life of Israel. They knew it. Jesus knew it. It had been written about numerous times in the Scriptures. So it is no surprise to anyone that on the way back to the temple (after he had gone and looked around the night before) Jesus stops at a fig tree to use it as a teaching tool for what the disciples are about to see in the temple. The fruitless tree is not the point. It is what the fruitless tree is symbolic of - a fruitless nation - that Jesus really wants them to pay attention to.

"What misery is mine! I am like one who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave. The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains." (Micah 7:1-2) Mark tells us that Jesus was hungry. But what Jesus was hungry for went so much deeper than his stomach, it went all the way to his heart and soul. He was hungry for fruitfulness in the lives of his people, and there was none. Though the tree was in leaf, there was no fruit on its branches, which was so symbolic of the life of Israel, worried about appearances from a distance, but on closer inspection without any fruit on their branches. I'm no fig tree expert, so I'm not really sure of all that Jesus was trying to communicate here, but I think the point he is trying to emphasize is that there is no season where it's acceptable for the people of God not to bear fruit. And when he stops to curse the fig tree, surely each one of the disciples remembered the words of the prophet: "I will take away their harvest, declares the Lord. There will be no grapes on the vine. There will be no figs on the tree, and their leaves will wither. What I have given them will be taken from them." (Jeremiah 8:13)

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

H. & L. serve in Asia by providing strategic leadership for colleagues serving in several major urban centers in Asia. Their role involves encouraging and coaching these co-workers in their ministries, as well as networking with others to make sure they have the resources and training that they need for their respective ministries. Pray today for health, stamina and safety during frequent traveling.

The focus of Global Golf is to serve women at all levels of competitive golf - professional tour players, college athletes, coaches and club pros - and introduce them to Jesus Christ through long-term relationships built around golf. Evangelism, discipleship and pastoral care are Global Golf's primary purposes. Pray for director Cris Stevens and the women that she will have opportunities to connect with on the pro tour.

Closing Prayer: Jesus, what are you hungry for in me? What is your deepest desire for my life? What is the true state of my heart and soul, and is it pleasing to you? May the branches of my soul always bear the fruit of life in you. For your pleasure and your glory. Amen.