What I’m Thinking: A Patient Gardener

Why did somebody suffer? We all want to know – we want to make it make sense, and all too often that means “Make them responsible.” Jesus said, no, it’s not like that – and God is much more patient with us than we imagine.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the beginning of the thirteenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel (Luke 13:1-9), when some people asked Jesus about some Galileans who had died, executed by Pilate. They wanted to know if that was because of their sins.

And Jesus’ reply was quite clear: that it is not our relationship with God that determines our successes or our failures, our living or our dying. It may indeed be true that we may suffer misfortune because of our own actions – our follies, our errors – but all too often it is the result of something else.

Those who died in Christchurch, New Zealand: it was not sin on their part that caused them to suffer, that caused such horrible losses to their families and their friends. It was the choice of another man to choose evil, to exercise it: that was what cost them their lives.

Not their sins. But another’s.

But Jesus also tells a parable in this section, about a fig tree that wouldn’t bear fruit, and how the owner of the tree wanted to cut it down and try something else. But the gardener said, no, there are things I can do. I can tend it, I can put manure on it, and we’ll see what happens next season. If it bears figs, well and good. If not, well, then, we can cut it down and we can start over.

God is patient. God lets us be figs without fruit. God gives us time, and God nurture us, God feeds us. And there will be a limit – we are finite creatures. But until that limit, God is with us, caring for us, and working for us that we might bear fruit.

May we do so.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on March 17, 2019

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