On October 29, 1941, Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited Harrow School to hear the traditional songs he had sung there as a youth, as well as to speak to the students who were graduating.
After a lengthy introduction, Churchill is reported to have risen from his seat, walked to the podium, stared at his audience and said “Never give up!” Churchill then walked back to his chair and sat down.
The students sat in silence.Five times Churchill rose from his chair, walked to the podium and said “Never give up!” and then sat down. Churchill’s message was clear….
Perhaps it is our insecurities that cause us to feel that if we mess up, if we sin God is going to give up on us.
But God never gives up.When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. God never gave up on them.
When Moses hid and shook with fear on God’s mountain.
God never gave up on Moses.
When King David plotted to kill Uriah.
God never gave up on David.
When Peter denied he even knew Jesus.
God never gave up on Peter.
When the disciples all hid in fear for their own life.
God never gave up on the disciples.When we sin, when we do wrong.
God does not give upon us either.
When we are faced with difficulties, it is hard for us, not to give up. In the opening verses of today’s Gospel reading Jesus was faced with difficulties from a crowd. The crowd came to Jesus to tell him of the innocent murders of Galileans. Jesus knew what they wanted him to say about these murders. But he didn’t offer them an easy answer. He refused to say that only the wicked suffer while the just go through life okay. Jesus told them everyone is equal in the eyes of God and even when things are difficult for us .
God never gives up.
Do you give up on yourself? Are there times when you give up on God. Jesus reminds us that God will never give up on us.
Jesus then goes on in today’s Gospel reading to say that when we have done something that we know is sinful – if we don’t repent we will perish –
Wow that can throw us for a loop
When we sin we drift in our relationship with God. God always loves us. But without repentance we may become spiritually lost. Without repentance we drift in our relationship with God. And when sin separates us from God – we can perish because we can’t survive without God….
To help his followers understand what he was saying about repentance and God’s forgiveness. Jesus tells a parable about a landowner who planted a tree in his orchard. Every year the landowner would come and check on the tree to see if it produced any fruit from its branches. Every year he would see that there was no fruit on the tree.. Being a smart business man after the third year the landowner wanted to cut down the tree. The tree was taking up land and it wasn’t producing any fruit. But the gardener asked for another year. The gardener then said he would care for the tree, to dig around the tree and do everything he could to help the tree produce some fruit. The landowner finally agreed. The gardener in the parable never gave up on this tree no matter how little fruit it gave.
We can think of Jesus as the gardener in our lives – It is Jesus who shows grace and love. It is Jesus the gardener, who pleads for us and cares for us –It is Jesus who is always there in our lives.
The parable of the fig tree invites us to consider the gift of another year of life as an act of God’s love. It makes sense that if a fruit tree does not bear fruit it would be cut down.
In the parable, however, the gardener asks for and is granted one more year. Here in the parable Jesus gives us an example of God’s forgiveness & gift of new beginnings in our lives. What would you do if you had only a year left to live, only a short time in which to make up for the wrongs done and opportunities missed? How important would that year be to you?
The parable of the fig tree is a challenge to live each day as a gift from God.
Winston Churchhill once said: never give up
Here’s a word of grace for us… God never gives up on us – God is in the business of opening doors, not closing them. The past is not final – God doesn’t hang on to the past each day God calls us to repentance and new beginnings. Even when things seem difficult, even when we sin even when we think we have messed up, God is there for us. And in this season of Lent as we gaze upon the cross of Jesus we see how God doesn’t give up on us. When things seem difficult don’t give up on yourself. Don’t give up on that family member, co-worker or friend when they disappoint you. God never gives up on us and has shown us that through Jesus.