Monday, February 22 Luke 13:1-9

At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”

Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:1-9

I took some time away from beginning my day writing devotions. I’m still trying to adjust to the newness of life away from parish ministry. The rhythms are all different – what I do, what I find myself thinking about, what I worry about, who I see on a daily basis. None of this is a bad thing, just another search for a new kind of normal.

Normal.

It is such a strange concept. Living in an infinitely complex world, who are we kidding when we create a word like “normal”? What is “normal” anyway? Is it some kind of statistical average worked out by carefully calculating the daily moments of a control group of millions? I don’t think so. At best “normal” is a wistful fantasy, an illusive goal, where life seems controllable, reduced to pleasant routines, largely under our own control.

But life isn’t normal. Life is chaotic. Galilean peasants murdered for political expediency just because Pilate could get away with it. Eighteen people living normal lives were suddenly buried under the crushing rocks of the tower of Siloam. Over 230,000 lives ending in Haiti because of the unseen shifting of the earth’s tectonic plates. It would be easy to argue that such apparent aberrations are in fact, in this broken world, quite normal. Tragedies happen daily. Many times a day. Everywhere.

So maybe the question isn’t really one about normalcy. Maybe the question comes down to meaningfulness or meaninglessness. Is life purposeful or random? Does anything mean anything at all or is it just a dog-eat-dog jumbled mess of random chance?

The answer – to people of faith – is clear but not easy. God doesn’t take vacations. God’s will is always for the good because God’s will defines goodness. But there is a deep, profoundly deep, mystery to God’s good and gracious will as it continues to be worked out in each nanosecond of life.

So the fig tree will not be cut down, at least not yet. We get some more time to live these gardener lives of ours. What will we do with that time? We’ll prune the tree, fertilize the tree, water the tree, care for the tree. We will work each day, trusting that the fruit will come. Trusting that the answers will come. Trusting the goodness of the owner of the vineyard.

We still have time. Get to work.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, thank you for bringing us to this new day. Thank you for giving us words and stories that enrich our lives and help us make some kind of sense in the midst of that which seems so senseless. We pray that you continue to empower those seeking to bring help in times of tragedy, and that you draw near to those who have lost sight of you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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23 Responses to “Monday, February 22 Luke 13:1-9”

  1. Lorene Halsey Says:

    Welcome back! A prayer has been answered. How I missed your daily devotions. I have recommended this site to so many friends and all have missed you. Wondering what happened to those messages that always have so much meaning. I am happy the “fig tree” is going to be nurtured and produce fruit for us again.
    God Bless
    Reenie

  2. Nancy Says:

    And I second that motion. Pastor Kerry often mentions addiction, and I begin to wonder if without my daily “fix” of meditation and prayer my life starts wandering away from God. But what a guilt burden to put on anyone. Take all the vacations you need, pastor and we will understand. I need to take responsibility for being too lazy to seek other devotions when these are unavailable. But I have to admit it was great to see DAILY DEVOTIONS in my inbox.

  3. Georgene Thompson Says:

    This little bit of time I take every day to stop the world and think of God in my life are a blessing. Thank you for all you do and all you give. Like others I’ve missed you…don’t think you weren’t missed. Whether you post once a day, once a week, once a month or just when you can, your messages mean something in my life.

  4. Jo Anne Schulte Says:

    Welcome back. I too have missed your posts, it has helped stay sane while I went back to school to get my degree in my 50’s!

    About being normal, my youngest daughter still says “Being normal is highly over rated!” That is the way I feel most days to.

    God’s blessings to you and your ministry.

  5. Linda Says:

    As I prepare for a 12-step meeting, I am struck by your definition of normal. We talk about it being a setting on a dryer but, since some dryers don’t have a “normal” setting, the wistful fantasy comes into play. Good to be reminded that God’s will, not my will, is reality. Thanks for being part of my life.

  6. Theresa Prebilsky Says:

    good news for a cloudy Tuesday.

    • Kristian Says:

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  7. Joene Herr Says:

    Thank you for returning to your ministry of Daily Devotions! Your devotion for yesterday (2/22), read this morning, reinforced my pondering for Sunday’s sermon text from Genesis..Abram being faithful, trusting God’s promise, even though the promise would not be realized fully in Abram’s lifetime. I so often want results I can see, making ministry about satisfying me, not serving God.

  8. Betty Says:

    We all need you!

  9. Judy Says:

    Welcome Back
    I also missed your daily devotionals…Living in North Dakota I enjoy your occasional references to this area and connect with your messages. Please continue them as you are able.

  10. Jeneice Says:

    I was so glad to see “Daily Devotions” on my e-mail In-box. I always look forward to reading your words and thoughts and trying to apply them to my day (days). I also send a copy of each one to my daughter who does not have the internet. There was a void in our lives while you were gone. Thank you for returning again to help us hear and study God’s word.

  11. Banks Scaboroguh Says:

    Pastor Kerry, I agree with all of the above. I will only add that I have found over a very long life that getting to work is the best responxe to the events of the chaotic world. Write when you can and know that we are all so very fortunate to have your faith and mind as models. Peace, Banks

  12. Lori Says:

    Welcome back! Prayers continue as you re-adjust! I just wanted to add a quote, by Christian comedian Patsy Claremont … ‘normal’ is only a setting on a dryer’!

  13. Sue Henderson Says:

    Oh Pastor, welcome back! I have missed you and your daily message. Please share with us your current life, current worries, current pressures. Your messages may take a new form or a new schedule, but they are welcome treasures, gifts, when they come. Please don’t feel pressured by us, your reading congregation, but feel supported, valued and appreciated.

  14. Millie Says:

    Hooray! The lost is found. I’ve been clicking regularly on Daily Devotions to see if there is a new message. Today I found it in my email box. Welcome back!

  15. Henning Egner Says:

    Yers, we missed you! There are other devotions, b ut none like your’s!

  16. Carolyn Novak Says:

    Welcome back! What a great topic to consider/debate: Why do we think that everything that happens in the world is God’s Will? Could it be that somethings are not “of God?” Either because of the concequence of our decisions or an (apparently) random act of mother nature, it is rare indeed that one gets through this life without a certain amount of suffering and/or tragedy. But when these things do happen, God enters the event, speaks to our hearts and minds via the Holy Spirit to encourage us to act for His Will – be it prayer, funds or physical assistance (r/t Haiti). I look forward to another Devotion tomorrow. CN

  17. Glenn See Says:

    Welcome back to the writing pad…I’ve missed your devotions!

  18. Lyn Says:

    Welcome back and Thank you. I needed the reminder to get to work on a project I keep putting off.

  19. June Bierbaum Says:

    You were missed! Thanks for keeping us focused!

  20. Roberta Edwards Says:

    I too have checked for your devotions and had not this week. What a joy for me to find you back. I do not know where or how you are but I do know that your writings are a blessing to me and I want them to be a blessing for you.
    Roberta

  21. Roberta Edwards Says:

    I too have checked for your devotions and had not this week. What a joy for me to find you back. I do not know where or how you are but I do know that your writings are a blessing to me and want them to be a blessing to you.
    Roberta

  22. Debra Says:

    I too, have missed the Daily Devotions. For some time I have looked forward to seeing them as 99% of them touched the very issue I was dealing with at the time! I found that amazingly refreshing as I seek to have God guide me through whatever means He chooses to.

    Thank you for the reminder:

    “God’s will is always for the good because God’s will defines goodness. But there is a deep, profoundly deep, mystery to God’s good and gracious will as it continues to be worked out in each nanosecond of life.”

    How true this is and how we need to remind ourselves daily of it!

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