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Out of Season
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In the Bible book of Mark, Jesus and the disciples are in the process of leaving Bethany when Jesus realizes he’s suddenly hungry. As they trek along, they come upon a fig tree.

The Bible says that when he realizes the tree hasn’t produced any fruit, he curses it by saying, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” Now, for years, I used to think the fig tree was producing no fruit because it was a deficient fig tree, or because it wasn’t “doing its job” of producing fruit correctly. That’s what I’d heard in sermons and talks before. It’s the whole premise of, “If you’re not bearing fruit, you wither and die.”

However, I just realized something pretty huge here. The verse right before the famous “cursing” of the fig tree, Mark 11:13 (NIV), says the following: “When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs” (Italics added). In other words, this tree would eventually produce figs. It just wasn’t the season for it to do so.

That got me thinking. This tree was cursed to never produce fruit again because it didn’t produce fruit out of season. Generally, when I think of “season”, I think of a specific window of time when a plant or tree is supposed to yield crops or, in this case, fruit. For example, you don’t pick strawberries out of season. You won’t find any. Of course, I had to Google this, and I found out that generally, strawberry season is from mid-March through June 1st. It’s pretty safe to say you can’t find strawberries in January if the season ends in June. It’s just not time yet.

Jesus Demands Fruit

But Jesus disregards that fact completely. He comes to a tree that is out of season and wants fruit from it. He made the tree. If anyone knows if it’s out of season it would be Him. Yet He goes and demands fruit from a tree that isn’t supposed to yield anything other than leaves until its season comes.

Of course, He was trying to teach a lesson. Most of us would skip through this and move on to the “Have faith in God” part found in later verses. But I think the lesson is even more evident during the actual cursing of the fig tree. Jesus wants us to produce fruit...even when we aren’t “supposed to.” Out of season. When we least expect and maybe even want to.

The fruits of the Spirit, as read in Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT), are quite clearly what I think Jesus wants us to produce: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Produce love when you’re hated. Produce peace when there is war all around you. Produce patience, kindness and self-control when you are threatened and attacked maliciously, faithfulness when the world around you crumbles.

Produce fruit out of season. That’s what He wants from us.

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By Sebasstian Zaldibar. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ® and the New Living Translation ©.

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