New Results, or the Same Old Things?

by Bill Denton

New Results, or the

"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?'…And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down'" (Luke 13:7-9, NASV).

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got" (author unknown).

The vineyard keeper understood something important about vines. They don't always produce fruit when expected. Sometimes, they take an extra bit of care. A little digging to loosen the soil, a little fertilizer to boost growth, and perhaps even a useless vine can be jolted into productivity.

But, there comes a time when the vine either produces or you cut it down and plant another one. What the vineyard keeper really wants and needs is a fruit-bearing plant. I don't think it's hard to make the application to ourselves. What God wants and needs is for you and me to be fruit-bearing people. Our problem is that we sometimes settle for the habit of not bearing fruit. We may have been somewhat productive at some point in the past, but for some time, we may have failed to keep up with the need.

The quote above is one of my favorites. It has challenged me almost daily since I heard it many years ago. It keeps me from being satisfied with things as they are, the way I've always done them, and with the product of my life itself. It's not that I haven't done some good things, for I believe I have. But, most of those things are in the past. I have to keep asking myself, "What about today? What about tomorrow?" I think there is a proverbial truth expressed in that little statement: "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got." I'm not even sure it's good English to say it that way, but it does communicate.

So, what are you doing with yourself? Have you settled down into your comfort zone? Have you decided what you will do and what you won't? Are you locked into some limited use of yourself, or are you really stretching to see what the possibilities are? If the Lord wanted you to try something to benefit His kingdom, would you do it, or would He expect to get only what He's always gotten from you?

Today would be a good time to reevaluate yourself, to set some new goals, to decide that you can, and will, take on something new in the way of serving the Lord. I can tell you this, however-it will take effort on your part. You'll have to put your mind to work, engaging your imagination and your intellect. You'll have to set your energy level a bit higher than you're accustomed to, and you'll have to actually engage the gears of motion and activity. You may cry, "Oh, but this so different from what I've been doing. I think I just want to go back to the way I've always done things." Well, you can do that, but don't expect to accomplish anything different than you've ever done.

New accomplishments require new efforts. What could you do, if you just got up and got after it?

(C) Copyright 2000, Dr. Bill Denton

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