We are gardeners. You can always tell a true gardener by their hands and our hands are no exception. A gardener’s hands are rough with callus, stained, full of cuts and abrasions and all knobby with arthritis. This is expected for we live to garden.
Of late, we have been caring for some neglected olive trees on the property. Our trees have never been attended; nurtured, cultivated and loved, but left alone to grow wild, uncontrolled, and infested with unwanteds; And so, sick they became. Consequently, the crop produced by these trees was a sparse remnant of what could have been. However, harvest we did. With vigor and determination, we beat and shook the trees. And oh, by the way, harvesting olives is hard work. The traditional method involves beating the limbs with long poles and as the fruit drops off, the limbs get a good pruning and a good refreshing. Other gardener’s shook their heads, advising, “Don’t waste your time. The crop won’t be much. It isn’t worth your effort”. And yet, even in such a weakened state, our trees produced olives. Olive trees live to produce olives.
Is it not the same situation with many people of our world? Many say, “Why waste time and effort on people groups who seem so negative toward Christ Followers? They hate us and won’t listen anyway. Let them grow wild. They can’t change. They will never come to relationship with Jesus; the statistics prove this.” And yet, with water, pruning and a little care, everything will become alive again. Isaiah 61: 10-11 is a great banner for us.
I greatly rejoice in the LORD, I exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness, as a groom wears a turban and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth produces its growth, and as a garden enables what is sown to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. Isaiah 61:10-11 (HCSB)
The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and tell them: Suppose I bring the sword against a land, and the people of that land select a man from among them, appointing him as their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows his trumpet to warn the people. Then, if anyone hears the sound of the trumpet but ignores the warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head.
Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but ignored the warning, his blood is on his own hands. If he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. However, if the watchman sees the sword coming but doesn’t blow the trumpet, so that the people aren’t warned, and the sword comes and takes away their lives, then they have been taken away because of their iniquity, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood. Ezekiel 33:1-6 (HCSB)
A cry for the salvation of God’s chosen peoples…