From a distance they all look real and serve the purpose of adding some pretend beauty to my outdoor living area. But at a closer look you will see the one on the right and left are actually fake. A dead give away is the one in the center has new growth on the bottom and dead petals in the middle. It is also reaching to the left. Why? Because it is gravitating toward the sun.
This of course began a jewel in my mind about how we are very much like those plants.
The one on the right is So perfect it makes you take a second look to see if it's for real. Like that plant, some of us live a life that looks so perfect it makes others wonder if we have any faults, flaws or failures? We need people to think we are all together all the time because we are perfectionist and care more about what people think of us than our Creator. The roses on that plant have no thorns to keep you from getting too close or pleasant scent to draw you near. It can't really live or die, it just sits pretty and kind of makes those around it feel inferior.
Now the one on the left is a little better off. This plant looks more real because it has some imperfections we can see. It appears to be reaching for the sun however, it will look however you want it to because people can manipulate its movement, turning it to the left or right, it has no roots.
This plant is more pleasing to the fake garden and still requires no real investment. I don't have to water it or add fertilizer or make sure it's not getting too much sun. My only real commitment is to dust off the leaves from time to time or replace it when it begins to fade.
The bottom line is this plant like the first will end up in the trash when we are done with it because it has no real value. There are no emotional ties and it can be replaced by a quick trip to the Dollar Store.
Then there's our third plant. This guy is the real deal. It needs to be taken care of. It requires water and fertilizer. It needs the weeds, that even a store bought plant on the 2nd floor seems to get, pulled out. It requires the old petals be removed to allow new growth and to be turned occasionally so it doesn't lean one way or the other. This plant I give special care to because it's really alive and I feel more responsible for it. I want to see it grow and blossom and I check the soil to make sure it's not too dry or wet. When the sun is too hot I move it to the shade so it doesn't burn up. I admire it with all it's flaws because I'm part of helping it grow and I take a bit of pride in the fact that I'm a part of something organic.
All of these thoughts reminded me of The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree.
Luke 13: 6 And He (Jesus) told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vine dresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 9 Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’ ”
In this parable the vineyard owner represents God. God is the creator of the tree and He expects us to seek relationship with Him which in turn will allow us to grow fruit. Fruit He expects to see.
The gardener who cares for the tree would represent Jesus who feeds His children the word of God and gives them living water, The Holy Spirit. The tree itself in the parable is symbolic of us as individuals.
The lesson for the individual is that borrowed time is not permanent. God's patience has a limit. In the parable, the vineyard owner grants another year of life to the tree. In the same way, God in His mercy grants us another day, another hour, another breath. Christ stands at the door of each man’s heart knocking and seeking to gain entrance and requiring repentance from sin. But if there is no fruit, no repentance, His patience will come to an end, and the fruitless, unrepentant individual will be cut down. We all live on borrowed time; judgment is near. That is why the prophet Isaiah wrote, "Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon."
(From Got Questions)
Prophetically, Yom Teruah could be related to our Messiah's return in which we are called to be ready in repentance, to experience the joy of His return and to give praise back to our Creator.
Like those plants He will be looking for the ones He planted, watered, fed, and promised to come back for. The ones that have strong roots in His word and give a pleasing aroma to Him for our obedience to His commands. Those who have had thorns cut off to love our neighbor and shouting praise for our very existence. All other plants, like my fake ones, will be thrown away.