These are photos of our olive tree. We didn’t plant the olive tree. It was here before our time. We have never had access to an olive tree before and subsequently have never educated ourselves on how to harvest or cure olives. As you would know, olives are used for consumption as well as for their oil.
When we realised we had an olive tree, there were only a few very green olives showing. After some online research I discovered that the season for ripening and harvest was coming up. I researched different ways of harvesting or curing olives. I’m still not efficient in my understanding of the processes and what to call them. However, I quickly learned that there are a myriad of ways to prepare olives for consumption as well as for oil.
As Derek and I watched the olives gradually getting more plentiful and darker, I began to feel it would be a crime to just leave them on the tree and not have a go at harvesting them. Although there is a lot of spiritual imagery in the process of harvesting/curing olives (the use of salt, time, hidden places etc) I’m not going to focus this post on those things.
The thing is, Derek and I had a go at harvesting them. We tried two different methods and then I went away for a week to see family. When I returned I checked how they were going (they can take up to 15 weeks or something crazy like that). Derek and I checked on them periodically but they just didn’t seem to be working. I hadn’t done things properly I’m sure of that. When I saw they weren’t working how they’re supposed to, I threw them all out in the garbage. After that, I pretty much lost interest, even though the olives on the tree this very day are sitting there ripe and ready for harvesting.
That’s the point of this post. The waste. The tree is full of olives, purple olives. Some are even sundried already, they’ve been on the tree for so long. Many have turned black and fallen to the ground. There’s an abundance of olives just ripe for the picking.
But you know what? I can’t be bothered. The process is beyond my comprehension. The process is too lengthy. There’s too much information on the internet on how to harvest or cure them. I can’t even get the terminology right. I have no understanding. I’m lazy. And as a result, they are being wasted. Every time I look at the tree I see the abundance and I see the waste. This is the point of my post today.
Sometimes, isn’t that just the way we are with Jesus? When I looked at the tree today, I just saw how Christ is this abundant Tree of Life ripe for the taking. He is full and glorious, rich and tasty, available for consumption and for His healing oil. And like our olive tree, He was always there, even before we arrived. His life was existing and increasing without our help, He just was. He just is.
And now, what are we doing with this Christ? Are we just walking by Him every day and ignoring Him? Are we letting His glorious life go to waste, so to speak? Do we think it is all too hard to get know Him so we just don’t bother? Are there so many opinions from experts out there on how to get to know Him that we are overwhelmed and so we shrink back?
The nature of Christ, is that regardless of whether or not we draw from His life or even acknowledge Him, He will still be there. Season after season, He will produce all the goodness that we need. He is an endless supply, THE endless supply. He is there for the taking. But just like the olives don’t just jump off the tree and cure themselves and pop themselves into an oil jar or a pickling jar in our fridge ready for consumption, Jesus doesn’t just do everything for us without our involvement.
Jesus wants us to work with Him. There’s a relationship involved. There’s not a labour of our own life, but His life within us as we make ourselves available to Him and actively participate in His life. We are co-workers with Christ. Yes, He has done it all, and yes He is sufficient in and of Himself, but it is the will of the Father that we might participate and partake of His Son’s life.
Are we actively participating in the process of getting to know our Lord? Are we desperate enough for His glorious life to be lived through us that we will put in the time and effort to walk through the hard stuff so that He gets what He wants in us? Or would we rather just go to the store (passively sit in a pew) and buy what’s already been prepared and packaged for us?
God help us. God forgive us for wasting the Life of Your precious Son. Lord, do what You must do in us, to shake and move us out of our comfortable seats to really get to know You – who You are – and participate and partake in Your glorious Life. Have Your way oh Lord.
You know, one of the really great things about getting to really know our Lord Jesus? It’s that we are not motivated any longer by guilt. I could race off now and try and harvest/cure the olives off that tree out of guilt. But you know what? I’m totally chuffed and satisfied that the Lord has used all of this to point me to Him, to show me about His life. And just as I’m not led into guilt about not labouring in harvesting the olives, the Lord doesn’t lead me into guilt over not getting to know Him more. He is simply as that olive tree, He is there. He waits. He continues to display His available life to me. He draws me to Him. He speaks to me and reveals Himself to me through things like an olive tree in our front garden. And by doing so, He continues to woo me to Him. I begin to long for more of Him.
This is the life of God folks. He draws us by His life and by His love revealed to us in His Son. What will we do with this life of His Son?