The Message is in the Manure

By Steve Austin | faith

Jul 24

I tell you, No; but unless you repent (change your mind for the better and heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), you will all likewise perish and be lost eternally.
And He told them this parable: A certain man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it, but did not find [any].  So he said to the vinedresser, See here! For these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and I find none. Cut it down! Why should it continue also to use up the ground [to deplete the soil, intercept the sun, and take up room]?

But he replied to him, Leave it alone, sir, [just] this one more year, till I dig around it and put manure [on the soil].  Then perhaps it will bear fruit after this; but if not, you can cut it down and out.

Luke 13: 5-9, The Amplified Bible

When Pastor Paul (Christ Community United Methodist) taught from this portion of Scripture on Sunday, if you know me very well at all, you know that the only word that stuck out in my head from the entire passage was “manure”.

I love “potty humor”.  Love it.  I am the perpetual 10-year-old boy and there is nothing funnier to me than a fart or a poot or something passing gas or “breaking wind” or talking about poop or dropping the kids off at the pool or taking a dump or a slam or taking the Browns to the Super Bowl or filing paperwork, or whatever else you might call it.  Nothing.  There is nothing funnier to me.  If that offends you, I’m almost done.  But you may not want to watch this video clip if you don’t like bathroom humor.

I warned you.

But in all seriousness, what the crap is this post about?  (See what I did there?)

So you have this fig tree.  At least it looks like a fig tree.  One problem: no figs.  How can you prove that it’s a fig tree if it has no figs?  And if you’re the owner of a vineyard, what good is a tree to you if it produces no fruit?

This story is messy and beautiful for two reasons:

  1. The gardener has mercy on the fruitless tree and says to the owner, “Give me more time. Let me work with this one.  Let me fertilize it.  Let me cultivate it.  Give me another year and let me see if I can get it to produce fruit.”  The gardener believes that the tree is able to perform the task it was designed and destined to do.
  2. The fertilizer was manure.  I have seen, in my brief life, the truth that poop produces.  Manure is simply the waste of an animal  It’s dung.  It’s feces.  And it stinks.  There is nothing good-smelling about a load of crap.  Here’s the strange thing: sometimes the only way to get results is to let the Gardener of your Soul pile that $h!t on.

Lindsey and I have been going through a tough time of transition for the past several months, with the birth of Baby Caroline in March and the fact that Lindsey is no longer working.  We are BLESSED that Lindsey is able to stay home with our two beautiful children.  I can’t imagine anyone else watching our children for 8-10 hours a day, but it is a learning process for us financially and we have truthfully faced some very difficult times, especially within the last month.

But remember, the message is in the manure.

I told some close friends yesterday that it seems like God is truly stripping away everything we have so that we have to COMPLETELY rely on (and trust in) Him.  We are having to make major budget changes, and He has helped, in the most mysterious (and shocking) ways to trim our budget.  Just trust me on that one.

So what do you do when the poop piles on?

Know that you are being cultivated for a purpose that is greater than you could ever imagine and that the Gardener of your Soul is getting His hands messy with the one He loves so very much.



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About the Author

Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.

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