“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near”.
Mk 13:28 NIV
Despite the “unearthly” and “otherworldly” aspect of faith in God, many of the truths we know about him relate to, or are illustrated by, everyday near-at-hand things. Jesus referred to a sparrow falling, and to the wind blowing, as well as to the sower scattering his seed.
Here to press home his call for the disciples to be on their guard he calls attention to the fig tree. Obviously, they regarded the appearance of the twigs and leaves as indications of summer, just as daffodils are a sign of spring in some countries. Jesus is saying, “You keep your weather eye open for the fig leaves and shoots to tell you that summer is really here. In the same way, be as diligent in watching the signs of the times in a spiritual sense in case the Son of Man comes suddenly and catches you off your guard”.
It is easy to become complacent in our faith. There is a tendency to say, “Well, God is love so nothing can go wrong. He’ll see that everything is all right. We don’t have to worry”. It can lull us into a false sense of security, deluding us into superficiality and complacency. Then Satan can sneak his way in and tempt us in all kinds of ways. And Satan is one of the many aspects of our Christian lives that we always need to be on the watch for.
The Christian faith is not a game of working out when we think the end of the world will come. It is about being wide awake for it – always.
Lord, keep me ever watchful.