The purpose of a tree is to produce fruit. This is the most important reason for planting a tree. The fruit is so important to the tree that it is its identity. Matthew 12:33 (NKJV) says, “A tree is known by its fruit.” If you are not sure of the type of tree you planted, just wait patiently for it to produce fruits.
I love the parable of Jesus about one fig tree that was not bearing fruit (Luke 13:6-9). After waiting for three years, the owner of the garden gave the keeper one year to make it productive. The gardener was given adequate opportunity to provide the tree with the necessary fertiliser, water and every other thing necessary for a tree to produce fruits. Then the gardener promised, “If it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.”
One clear message from this parable is that it is God’s plan that a tree should be fruitful. If God expects a tree to be fruitful, what of man created in His image? In fact, it is God’s command that anyone created must be fruitful and productive. Genesis 1:27-28 (KJV) says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
I believe that God has no respect for people who do nothing, just like the tree which does not produce fruits. Definitely, God is not interested in people or things that do not work. God first provides the enabling environment and resources for performance and gives adequate opportunity and time for these resources to be deployed. Everyone is born with the potential to make a unique contribution to humanity. No one is born without some talents and natural abilities.
The parable of the fig tree is explicit on the fate of people who fail to utilise their gifts to produce something. The gardener agreed for the tree to be cut down if all the efforts to make it productive fail to yield the desired results. The owner had earlier asked a pertinent question, “Why does it use up the ground?” The ground is the most important resource a farmer has.
It is foolishness to hang on to, what is not working after all necessary steps might have been taken to make it work. Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different results.”
Businessmen continually evaluate the performance of their products in the marketplace to determine the contribution of each product to the turnover and profits. They also evaluate the performance of their staff, usually at the end of the year, to determine their contributions to the overall performance of the company. It is only a poorly managed company that will retain non-performing products in its portfolio or retain its non-performing staff. As long as such products or staff remain in the company, they will be consuming valuable resources of the company. Therefore, they should be eliminated for the health of the company.
After our company, Pharmanews Ltd, started publishing Pharmanews in 1979, we later, at different times, introduced other periodicals and services – Nigerian Pharmaceutical Directory, Nigerian Drug Index, Pharmacy World Journal, Pharmacy Practice & Continuing Education, and Nigerian Pharmaceutical Industry. We also established a training and development department – the first training outfit for the pharmaceutical and health industry – in 1993.
Each of these ventures made significant impacts and contributions at its own time. But when we discovered that resources invested on them were no longer justified, we had to discontinue. If a business does not run at a profit, why and how should it continue to exist?
God has planned a productive life for you – a life of purpose and meaning that will make a difference in other people’s lives and in His kingdom. In the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30, the businessman who gave talents to his servants commended the ones who traded with the five and two talents respectively and recorded some profits. But the servant who received one talent but failed to trade with it was reprimanded by the master. He described him as wicked and slothful.