Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
I feel a lot of hope when I read the parable Jesus tells in today’s Gospel. The owner of a fig tree told the gardener to cut it down because it wasn’t bearing any fruit. But the gardener basically replies to the owner, “Just give it one more chance! I’ll personally take care of it and help it bear fruit.”
Lately I’ve been struggling a lot with anger. I especially lose my temper with my kids. They’re awesome, but I can be really impatient and close-minded at times. Every time I yell at them unnecessarily, I feel guilty about how I’ve treated them. I often feel even worse if I think about how many more times I’ve lost my temper with them before.
When we get really discouraged we can wonder, “If I’m a tree that won’t bear fruit, how much longer until God loses patience with me and just cuts me down?” But the image of Jesus as the good Gardener gives me such hope.
Even though I often fail to bear good fruit, He looks at me and sees who I really am and all the potential I have. No matter how many times I fail, He patiently forgives me. And He loves me. He never gives up on me. Just like the gardener in the parable, Jesus says, “Just give Dan another chance! I’ll personally take care of him and help him bear fruit!” I feel such consolation when I read this passage because it reminds me how much personal, individual, and intimate care the Lord has for me. It reminds me that He always wants to give me another chance and to help me follow His will more closely.
I’m not in this spiritual battle alone. Jesus kneels down in the dirt next to me. He carefully and lovingly cultivates the soil of my life to help me bear fruit. And when tomorrow comes and I fail again, Jesus repeats, “Just give him another chance.” That makes me want to try that much harder to live my life for Him.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
What are areas of your life today where you feel you are not bearing fruit and you know you need to turn back to the Lord?
How have you seen God, in the midst of whatever you have been experiencing in your own life during all that is going on in the world, bending down and tilling the dirt to help you bear fruit in your life?
In what ways have you allowed yourself to become discouraged, for which you'd like to turn back to the Lord and find his encouragement and his patience today?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"You are the good Gardener."
"You can bear fruit in me."
"Thank you for loving me as I am."
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Rake leaves cut the grass, pick up sticks, garden; do something physical today to remind you of the good Gardener, our Lord, who works slowly and patiently on our hearts to allow us to bear fruit through his patient love.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Dan Wolff, husband, father and spreadsheet extraordinaire in Crystal Lake, IL.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.