Thursday, January 01, 2009

Have a Fruitful Year 2009

Happy New Year to all readers! May the Lord's blessings be upon all in every way, even in times when the odds seem stacked against us. It has been said: "The past is history, the future is mystery, that is why the time we have now is a gift: the present." Rather than to look back to the year with guilt or to look forward to the future with a sense of anxiety about the uncertainties around, stay focused on the present course. Appreciate loved ones around us. Forgive the ones we need to forgive.

My family and I spent New Year's Eve at the famous Pike's Place Market. We came across a store selling ear-rings, and after wishing him the ubiquitous 'Happy New Year' greeting, he wittingly replied with 'No, why should we wish to be happy for just one day? I want to be happy ALL year!" I think he got it. Why should we treat any one day more special than the rest? Each day lived thankfully to the Lord ought to be a special time for the Lord. There is no exception. More importantly, ask ourselves, for the past three years, how has our spiritual growth been? Christians ought to consider this as they mark this New Year. They should ask: "How fruitful has my life been?"

Spiritual Growth
It is to this question we start to reflect on our past few years, and check the level of progress we have achieved. We can easily point out promotions or increased sales performances. We can also point to the achievement of certain material goals or educational qualifications. How about the kind of fruitfulness in terms of spiritual growth?
Luke 13:6 ¶ And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any.
Luke 13:7 “And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?
Luke 13:8 “And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer;
Luke 13:9 and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’”
In this parable, the facts are grim. For three years, the owner of the vineyard has been checking on the crop, to look for signs of growth. Each year he looked, he could not find any. After three years, he decided that enough is enough. The vine needs to be cut down as there seem to be no point feeding the unfruitful plant anymore. Finally, when the owner decides to cut it down to avoid throwing good resources after bad or zero produce, the caretaker pleaded for one more year. He cried out and beg for one more chance to make amends. He promises to dig around and add fertilizer to improve the chance of fruit bearing. How about us?

If for the past three years, we have lived our spiritual journey oblivious to any traces of fruitlessness, what are we going to do about it? If we know that the owner is going to destroy the plant that have stayed with us for so long, are we going to sit back and do nothing about it? No! Surely not. We should make every effort to dig around for impediments that prevents the vine from bearing fruit. Maybe there is sin in our lives that we have failed to address. Maybe there is a brother or sister to forgive. Maybe there is a task that we have procrastinated. First remove all manner of obstructing our spiritual growth.

Second, fertilize our vine. Look for a spiritual mentor or a peer to be accountable to. Read our Bibles regularly and obey what we read. Pray unceasingly. Cherish one another in brotherly or sisterly love.

Maybe, for those of us who felt fruitless for the past 3 years, this year may be a dramatic turnaround in our spiritual pilgrimage. For those of us unsure about our direction in life, maybe this year is a time that we see light at the end of the tunnel. For those of us getting drained of our energies due to excessive busyness, maybe this year is a time to review our needs and check off those really essential stuff to be done. Measure our own resources and seek help if needed. Above all, be faithful to God in terms of our daily remembering of him in our prayer and worship through the Word.

May 2009 be a year of fruitful living. Don't just wish Christians a 'Happy New Year' like what the world does, wish one another: "Have a Fruitful Year in the Lord."

ks

2 comments:

Rosie Perera said...

What is wrong with wishing someone a Happy New Year? We don't say "Happy New Year's Day," do we? The idea is to wish someone well in the whole coming year. While being fruitful is indeed a good thing to wish someone for the coming year, happy is not an unbiblical idea. It means blessed. The Beatitudes are full of "Happy are those who ..." (in Young's Literal Translation and others).

YAPdates said...

If it is like what you said, wishing someone well from the heart, I don't have a problem. If it is said with a mindless 'saying-it-for-saying-sake' or 'copying-whatever-others-do-without-thinking-what-it-means,' maybe it is not such a good idea.

Anyway, that was not my main point. Nevertheless, "Happy New Year" to you.

c

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