Many experiences have exhausted my energy, damaged my sense of self-worth, and discouraged me from sharing my gifts and talents. I often feel like the fig tree that struggled to bear fruit.
God’s compassion is revealed through the kind people who don’t give up on me, but support me in times of trouble and help me to find the courage to keep going, to find a way to bear good, loving, peace-filled fruit.
[The gardener] said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave [the fig tree] for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.” Luke 13:8-9a
When I intentionally practice love, compassion, respect, forgiveness, gratitude, and peace, those Christ-like qualities grow in my heart to feed me and others—even in times of loneliness, suffering, and conflict.
[Jesus said,] “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good.” Luke 6:45a
Resentment, fear, and the desire for retribution are heavy burdens. I would like to let them go, even though the pain of mistreatment goes deep.
Today I will hear and practice what the Lord asks of me: to love, bless, and pray for the people I consider my enemies and all those who have hurt me. Then may the burdens I carry be dissolved into the light of Love and Truth.
Jesus said to his disciples: “To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:28
Richard Dadd (British, 1817 – 1886) Mercy: David Spareth Saul’s Life oil on canvas, 1854 Getty Center
James Tissot (1836-1902) La sermon des béatitudes opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper between 1886 and 1894 Brooklyn Museum of Art
Blessed are we who hope in the Lord even when we are lonely, discouraged, distressed, and afraid. We know there is no solution to our sorrows and burdens except in the Lord, and we put our trust in God.
Blessed are we who understand the nature of suffering. We extend comfort to others who suffer, and offer to walk with them as they move through the pain.
Blessed are we who refuse to make enemies. We know each human person is made in God’s image, and we practice looking deeply to find love and goodness in each other.
JESUS MAFA. Miraculous Catch, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. retrieved February 10, 2019
God has graced me with a unique personality and specific gifts and talents. Even when I do not see clearly how I am serving the Lord, I trust that my willingness to love God and my neighbor empowers me to use my gifts and talents to carry out God’s will for me each day .
But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and his grace to me has not been ineffective.
1 Corinthians 15:10