3rd Sunday of Lent
I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it. (Luke 13:8)
Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15; Psalm 103:1-4, 6-8, 11; 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10;Luke 13:1-9
The parable of the fig tree tells us that God is constantly at work pruning and watering and fertilizing us so that we can produce fruit. So often during Lent, we focus on our need to repent. While this is a good thing to think about, we also need to remember that our God is a God of consolation and love. He is always encouraging us. He never gives up on us. He never condemns or rejects us.
Jesus knows who we are. He knows everything about us. So it’s comforting to know that even with all of our weakness and failures, he will still work in us to make us more fruitful. In fact, his compassion is one of the most effective fertilizers around. It’s capable of feeding us and strengthening us. It has the power to lift us out of the pain and setbacks we can experience in our lives and encourage us to take the next step forward to a fruitful, peaceful life.
On one occasion, Jesus saw a large crowd, and his heart was moved with compassion for them because they were “troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). If you ever find yourself feeling this way, stand up and tell yourself that Jesus is with you. Believe that he knows your troubles and is showering you with his compassion and his love. You are not alone!
The Jesus who had compassion for this crowd is the same Jesus who walked out of the tomb on Easter Sunday. It’s the same Jesus we receive every time we take Communion. It’s the same Jesus who lives in your heart. It’s the same Jesus who lives in the hearts of your family members, your neighbors, your co-workers, even your enemies.
As you ponder these truths today, don’t just let his compassion encourage and console you. Let it melt your heart as well. Let it move you to share this compassion with everyone you meet.
“Jesus, I want to be more like you. Teach me how to cultivate your presence in the people around me.”~WAU