No Fruit for the Master

No Fruit for the Master 
M. Lynwood Smith 
February 1945 
Jesus and His disciples, having spent the night in Bethany, arose from their 
slumber to resume the work in which they were engaged. The previous day had been 
spent in the temple where He sharply rebuked the sinners that had disgraced 
the “house of prayer,” healed many of the afflicted, and taught the people. There 
was still much work to be done, for the fields “were white unto harvest, and the 
laborers were few.” So, Jesus and His followers arose and turned their faces 
in ‘the direction of Jerusalem, which lay about two miles away. As this little band 
journeyed down the hot and dusty road that led to Jerusalem, the Savior became 
hungry.

Let us stand by the way and watch Jesus and His Chosen as they, pass on their way 
to Jerusalem. We see Jesus hungry and weary with his journey, leading the Disciples 
on to the work that was so dear to His heart. At length the Savior saw a solitary 
fig tree standing by the way. Seemingly, this was a vigorous tree, and the early 
leaves in which it was clad, were proof enough that the tasty fruit the Savior 
loved, was there. The fig tree always puts forth its figs before it does its 
leaves. So, there was every appearance that this was a fruitful tree.

Now, we see the hungry Son of God as He approaches the tree robed in the verdure of 
spring; expecting to find this prized fruit beneath its broad leaves. But what did 
He find? Alas! There was no fruit for the Master! As Jesus looked upon this 
unfruitful tree, there must have been an expression of disappointment on His 
countenance. That the Savior was displeased with this barren tree is evident from 
His words, “Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth forever.”

Why did the Lord curse this tree, because it was barren, unfruitful, and a cumberer 
of the ground? Why should this tree stand there by the roadside and deceive 
mankind? It had not borne fruit the preceding year, or else the fruit would have 
still been on it (for in the Oriental countries figs hang on the trees almost the 
year around). It would not bear fruit that year, or the figs would have been there 
before the leaves were. It was just a useless, barren, tree. It is very true that 
this tree appeared to be fruitful; it was adorned externally with everything that 
was necessary to appear fruitful. But when it was examined by Jesus it was found 
barren. There was no fruit for Master.

This story of the barren fig tree is comparative with–
The Barren Christian

How many church members today, like this leafy fig tree, are just “cumbering the 
ground”? A barren tree has always displeased the Lord, and so does a barren 
Christian. God wants His people to “bring forth fruits,” and when we fail to do 
that we fail to please the Lord. I wonder how many Christians, if submitted to the 
same test, as was the fig tree, would stand the test. If the Lord should examine us 
(and, He does, daily) how many would fall into the class of the barren fig tree? 
Like the fig tree, when many Christians are examined by the Lord, I fear He finds 
they have borne no fruit the preceding year (or. would still be there); nor show 
any sign of fruitfulness for the forthcoming year. Hence, to be found thus would 
mean that we “stand in a bad condition before the Lord”. The Lord is not pleased 
with us when we fail to work or bear fruit for Him. This is clearly set forth in 
Matt. 25, where Jesus gives the parable of the talents. Jesus blessed and approved 
all the servants that had made use of their talents; He cursed the man who had only 
one; not because His talent was smaller than the others, but because He failed to 
develop and use it for the Lord. So the Lord expects us to, grow, work, and bear 
fruit.

Jesus said: “Every branch (tree in this case) that beareth not fruit, He taketh 
away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it that it might bring forth 
more fruit” (Jno. 15:2). Christ also said, “Herein is My Father glorified, 
that ye bear much fruit” (Jno 15:8). We know how sad it must have been when the 
hungering Savior was disappointed by the unfruitful fig tree; yet, He will be just 
that disappointed with an unfruitful Christian. This also teaches against-

The Hypocritical Christian

This barren fig tree is a fit emblem of the church member, who is concerned only 
with making a show before men. How many church members, and even preachers, like 
this fig tree, stand by the road of life to be seen, appearing to be something when 
in reality they are nothing? Let us not appear too conspicuous, let us “see that we 
do not our alms before men.” Though many of us appear to be doing much for the 
Lord, should the Savior push aside our leaves, as He did the fig tree, and look 
into our hearts, I wonder what spirit He would find. I wonder if He would find a 
spirit of love and interest in the Cause, or would He find a spirit of malice, 
hatred, and jealousy? Let us bear more than leaves for the Lord. When we stand 
before the Judge of all the earth, how many will have to meet Him with leaves, 
nothing but leaves, because we have borne no “fruit unto perfection”?

May we all stop being so concerned with the outward show, or big name, and let us 
take up our cross and humbly bear fruit for Jesus. Let us not be of those who 
boast; for the more we boast, the less fruit we will bear. The man, who does the 
most bragging, is the man who does the least work, just as the tree with the most 
leaves is the tree with the least fruit.

Robert Burns wrote words that truly teaches this thought. “Words, like leaves, 
doth most abound; Where deeds and fruit are seldom found.”

M. Lynwood Smith, Wesson, Mississippi Old Paths Advocate February 1, 1945