“Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever looks after his master will be honored.”
Pr. 27:18 (CSB)
The package on my doorstep contained a golf visor and polo shirt, each with the Professional Convention Management Association name and logo emblazoned on them, and a congratulations letter. I was so excited that hot June afternoon in Montgomery, Ala., 25 years ago when I opened that package and found that I had landed my first professional job – editorial assistant for Convene magazine. Only one month after graduation, my post-college career could begin. In a flurry to find a place live, my mom and I scouted out an apartment and I made the move to Birmingham, Ala., and began my first 8-to-5 job.
I came in early and worked late, either to get ahead or simply to keep up, especially on those days when deadlines were imminent. I wanted to do my best to honor my employer, and in essence, honor the Lord. Proverbs 27:18 encourages us to serve faithfully in whatever we are doing because it brings reward to both the worker and the master.
When I worked hard, the magazine looked good, my employer was happy, and I was rewarded with a raise and a promotion, not to mention a paycheck that allowed me to eat each week. My employer knew I was a Christian, and my strong work ethic brought a good reputation for the Lord. I was, in essence, living the principle described in Pr. 27:18: I was tending my fig tree (job) with care, eating its fruit (getting a paycheck), looking after my master (respecting my boss by doing honest work), and being honored (earning a promotion and raise).
Paul echoes this idea in 1 Cor. 10:31 when he tells us to always bring glory to God in everything we do, even in how we eat and drink. The idea of working faithfully is a theme that runs throughout the Bible:
2 Chronicles 15:7: “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” (NIV)
Psalm 101:6: “I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me.” (NIV)
Matthew 25:23: “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” (ESV)
Luke 19:17: “His master replied, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very small matter, you shall have authority over ten cities.'” (NIV)
1 Corinthians 3:8: “He who plants and he who waters are one in purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.” (NIV)
1 Peter 4:10: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:” (ESV)
We are called to be faithful to God, and part of that faithfulness is shown by how we treat others and how well we act as stewards of everything God has given us (which just happens to be everything we have).
So, how well are you living the Pr. 27:18 principle?
What is your fig tree at this time of your life? Your career, family, ministry, community?
Are you tending your fig tree well? If not, how can you begin giving it more loving care?
God has given each of us specific gifts and talents with which we help each other and honor him. Work faithfully where the Lord has planted you today, and enjoy the fruits of your own fig tree!