On This, I Just Don’t Understand

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Deuteronomy 4-6; Mark 11:1-18


12 The next day, after leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 From far away, he noticed a fig tree in leaf, so he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing except leaves, since it wasn’t the season for figs. 14 So he said to it, “No one will ever again eat your fruit!” His disciples heard this (Mark 11:12-14, Common English Bible).

It is not uncommon for us to go through life without understanding some of the things people do and say. Sometimes I don’t even understand some of the things I do or say. We see people do things that don’t make good sense. For example, why would anyone want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? If the airplane was about to crash, I get it. Besides, then the airplane isn’t perfectly good. I don’t understand the great obsession with tattoos these days. I am not trying to be critical, I just don’t understand it. From what I understand, they are expensive and painful. Plus, if you decide you don’t like it, getting rid of them can be even worse.

In college, I had a professor for two different classes (he was the only person who taught either and they were both required classes). He was one of the most foul-mouthed people I have ever known. Most of the time it wasn’t necessary and I think he did it because he could. I actually tracked the number of cuss words he used in a class and then calculated the average. I don’t remember the number now. All this happened 25 years ago but it was in excess of twenty per class period. I don’t understand the need for using foul language, at least not that much.

No, I don’t understand many of the things people say and do. I do, however, expect, when I pick up my Bible and start reading to understand the things Jesus says and does. I know the stories. I am reading the book. I really should understand. As I said a few days ago, God didn’t make it that hard. I understand why the disciples, as well as the Pharisees and Sadducees, might not understand the things Jesus said and did. They didn’t have the benefit of access to the whole story.

I do. I should understand. Plus, in other places of Scripture, Jesus explains the parables (a parable just precedes our lesson) but he doesn’t do so here.

In the lesson, Jesus goes to a fig tree in an effort to find a snack. Finding no fruit, he cursed the tree and declared it would bear no more fruit. To me, at least, that seems pretty harsh for fruit that isn’t even in season.

I don’t know, but could it be that Jesus was saying we are to share our faith and bear fruit regardless of the season. Disciple-making is an ongoing project. And, if we are going to bear fruit, it must not be fruit just for the world. It must be fruit that benefits our communities and the world.

Like I said, I don’t understand. But those are my thoughts. I would love to hear what you think.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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