What’s our “FQ” or “Fruitfulness Quotient”? What are the “qualities” and “actions” that the Lord wants to produce in our lives? And if He did a little “fruit inspection” in our lives today, what would He find?
The gospel reading in today’s Daily Office is all about fruitfulness (Mark 11:11-26). Jesus and his disciples are on their way into Jerusalem; and because He’s hungry, he stops by a fig tree along the way to see if he can find any fruit on it. When He finds none, He curses the tree; and then He and his disciples continue their journey.
It turns out, however, that the incident at the fig tree merely foreshadows the real action in Jerusalem. Jesus is “hungry” to find a people whose hearts are devoted to God — a people who worship with gratitude, who obey with devotion, and who care for others in a way that reflects the compassion of their Heavenly Father. But instead of “fruit,” he finds barrenness. He finds a temple where worship has become empty ritual, where obedience has been pushed aside by the pursuit of profit, and where “seekers after God” have been pushed aside to cater to the needs of “religious insiders.” So, he “curses” the temple establishment, driving out the merchants and moneychangers and saying: “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’ (Mark 11:17)
On the way out of the city, the disciples see that the fig tree Jesus cursed has now withered. And as readers of Mark’s gospel probably knew, the temple, too, “withered” when it was destroyed by the Romans several years after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
We need to take seriously the call of our Lord to be fruitful. We are not saved because of something we do; but we are saved so that we can do something: so that we can offer to God “the fruit of lips that praise His name,” and so that we can produce “the fruit of the Spirit,” and so that we can help others get “grafted into the Vine” that gives life.
Of course, lest this call or responsibility become a source of fear and anxiety, Jesus reminds us elsewhere: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” (John 15:16) In the end fruitfulness is less about what we do —and more about what Jesus does through us.
May He be fruitful in us this week, and may we become nourishment for a hungry world.