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IN A MINUTE: How Does Your Garden Grow?

One day my husband John and I were talking about a tree in our back yard. He said, “That pear tree is bearing fruit again for the first time in about ten years. I started to cut it down and decided against it. Instead I tried giving it a little more attention by applying treatment to protect it from bugs and other pests. I’m glad I didn’t cut it down. Looks like we will have pears this year.”

Sound familiar? Remember the parable that Jesus told about a man with a fig tree? (Luke 13:7-9) The owner of the vineyard kept watching the fig tree and waiting for it to produce some fruit. Finally, he told the man who tended his vineyard to cut it down because it was unproductive and just taking up space in his vineyard. The man became somewhat frantic and asked the owner of the vineyard to spare the tree. He said he would be more diligent in tending to the tree to see if it would start producing again.

Is this you? Looking for fruit but not doing productive work? I’m sure you can identify with both men in our story. Here we are talking about figs and pears, but in your life, it might be your marriage or your relationship with a friend or relative. This relationship may not be going the way you want it to and you want to cut the other person out of your life.

Do you assume any responsibility for the state of the relationship? For example, have you been so caught up in your own world that you have neglected that relationship? Have you have failed to invest time in it to help it grow? John and the man who took care of the vineyard recognized that there was a possibility that their tree was not bearing fruit because of neglect on their part. Rather than giving up, they came up with an action plan. You need to do the same.

First do the things you know to do. Are there things that need to be weeded out of the relationship? This could be things like control, manipulation, lack of expressed appreciation, and taking the other person for granted? N

ext add some fertilizer like patience, kindness and long-suffering in order to see a growth spurt? Finally, you may want to find out what’s bugging the other person. What are some things you do that really annoy them?

Remember, relationships don’t grow on their own. Jack, in the story of Jack and the Beanstalk had some magical beans which were thrown on the ground. The next day there was a giant beanstalk in his yard. Unfortunately, that will not be your experience. Most of the time, change in relationships is a slow process.

Commit to work diligently on the relationships you value and cherish. That little extra work you do can produce great rewards. You will have double fruit; fruit from your own change and fruit from the change in the other person.

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