Fig Cookies and TV by Carolyn Tucker

Keys to the Kingdom

By Carolyn Tucker

My earliest memory of my father occurred in the den of our California home. I was three or four years old and was simply hanging out with my Daddy whom I loved and adored. After supper and before bedtime, he would relax after a hard day’s work at Market Basket. His usual week-night routine was watching TV while eating snacks. One evening I noticed him enjoying a fig cookie, so I asked if I could have one. I’d never eaten one before so I thought I’d give it a shot. I figured if Daddy ate them, then I should too.


Fig trees were abundant in the Holy Land. The smaller immature figs (which can also be eaten) begin to form as soon as the leaf buds appear. The fruit of the fig tree pops out about the same time as the leaves. Therefore, when the leaves are in full bloom it means the tree has also produced mature figs which usually hide under the leaves. I suppose eating an immature fig could be comparable to eating a green tomato. I prefer red ripe ones but, if I was hungry, an immature fried green tomato would keep me from starving.


“The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so He went over to see if He could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. Then Jesus said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat your fruit again!’ And the disciples heard Him say it” (Mark 11:12-14 NLT.)


Some Bible scholars believe that this one particular tree was an exception to the normal season because it was already, at the time of Passover, full of leaves. This fig tree had a form of fruit production, but upon deeper inspection, Jesus found it to be barren and not living up to expectations. Fig trees were not for looks or to provide shade, they were designed to bear fruit. Without any figs, this tree was disappointing and not up to snuff.


Some have thought Jesus was being harsh when He cursed the tree. But considering that Jesus’ earthly ministry was only for three years, He didn’t have time to beat around the bush. He took advantage of this opportunity to actually teach by example. Jesus cursed the tree as a serious sign of God’s displeasure with sham and hypocrisy. The withering of the tree in 24 hours (Mark 11:20) was a vivid warning against having the leaves of false profession, but not bearing the fruit of God’s grace. Professing to be God’s personal ambassador, but denying it with an ungodly attitude and lifestyle, is serious business.


People are supposed to see how God is when they look at His followers. “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ’Come back to God!’” (2 Corinthians 5:20 NLT.) I don’t want to be a disappointing  exception to the lifestyle of a true Christ follower. I don’t want to look right on the outside and be wrong on the inside. I don’t want to pose as an imposter. God sees right through hypocrisy and, given enough time, so does everyone else. However, God also sees who we can become when we genuinely repent and surrender. My pastor recently shared that, “A moment of surrender is shown in a lifetime of obedience.”


The Key: With God’s help, we can be the real deal and influence others for Christ.

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