One More Year (12/31/2015)

December 31, 2015 in Church News

Jesus told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.” (Luke 13:6-9)

The last day of a year is a good day to look back and do some evaluating. In light of the parable that Jesus tells, I’d like to ask yourself, “How fruitful of a year have I had? How well have I displayed the fruits of the Spirit in my life throughout 2015–fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control?” Maybe some of those fruits have shown themselves abundantly. Maybe others are lacking. Maybe your tree is like the one Jesus described in the parable that doesn’t appear to have borne any fruit at all.

Whatever your circumstances, I have good news for you. A few days ago we celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ, our perfect Savior. His perfect life and innocent death covers over your imperfection. In him, you have forgiveness for your sins and eternal life. Your salvation doesn’t depend on how well you have shown fruits of love in your life. Your salvation depends on Christ. And he has done everything necessary to assure your victory.

I have some more good news for you. No matter how 2015 went for you, the Lord has given you one more year to show those fruits that may have been lacking. In his mercy, he has not cut down your tree and thrown you aside. He will do everything needed so that you might bear fruit in this new year he has given to you. His Spirit will work through his Word and Sacraments to give you life and fill you with gratitude. This gratitude will look for a way to express itself in your life. And the fruits will follow.

I pray that God’s Spirit is yours in abundance in 2016. Seek the Lord in his Word. Worship him often. Pray, praise, and give thanks. And, by God’s grace, this year could perhaps be your most fruitful year ever.

In Christ,

Pastor Steve 
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 Sunday Preview

January 3rd
The Epiphany of our Lord
Theme:
A Savior for All People
Readings:
1 Kings 10:1-9; Ephesians 3:2-12; Matthew 2:1-12
Hymn of the Day:
“How Lovely Shines the Morning Star” (CW #79)

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