• Rev. Joel L. Tolbert

Don't Give Up, Just Yet

I wonder...

Have you ever watched someone do something really cool, like an Ollie on a skateboard, (that’s a trick where the board flips under your feet while you’re riding it) or solve a Rubik’s Cube, and so you try it but it doesn’t work? Have you ever sat through a class where a teacher shows you how to do something and it looks pretty easy? Then she gives you homework, and you realize, you don’t know how to do it, and it's hard? Have you ever heard someone play an instrument, and thought that’s the instrument you want to play? So, you get one and try, and it sounds terrible?


That happens sometimes to younger and older people. We tend to look at things and assume or expect them to be easy, to just work. Jesus tells a story about that…


Scripture Luke 13:6-9

6 Then Jesus told this parable: “A person had a fig tree planted in their vineyard; and they came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7 So the person said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’


8 The gardener replied, ‘Please, leave it alone for one more year, and let me dig around it and put fertilizer on it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, then you can have it cut down.’”


(This is the word of the Lord… Thanks be to God)


Children’s Don't Give Up, Yet

That person wanted figs, so they had a fig tree planted in their yard. They came back year after year expecting, assuming it would naturally grow figs. It is a fig tree, after all. But it didn’t and they got frustrated… frustrated enough to quit, to give up, to imagine cutting it down.


The gardener… and sometimes in Scripture when we talk about “the gardener”, we are talking about God… the gardener knows better. The fig tree did grow and can grow fruit. It just needs more attention, more effort, the right kind of care and nourishment. Then the effort and patience will pay off.


The person who planted it just planted it and assumed it would produce. When it didn’t, that’s not the tree’s fault. The person who planted it needed to spend time tending that tree, feeding it, helping it, for it to grow fruit.


No one can do an Ollie on their skateboard or solve a Rubik’s Cube the first time. No one knows how to do every homework assignment the first time they see it. No one can play an instrument the first time they pick it up. In order to do anything well, we have to commit to it, learn about it, practice it, give it time and effort before we know if it will work, if we can do it, if it will bear fruit.


Young ones, don’t assume or expect anything to be easy or automatic. With anything you are asked to do or want to do, commit to it, learn and study it, work at it, and give it time. Don’t let early failures or frustrations make you give up or quit. Try again and over again. Then you’ll know. Then you can either enjoy the fruit or let it go and move on to something else.

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