Learning From Nature

Now learn this parable from the fig tree . . .”—Mark 13:28 (NKJV)

We can learn a lot from nature. After all, its Designer is also the One who desires to guide us through life so we can walk in His will for our lives. Is it any wonder then that He would embed into nature signs and symbols intended for our instruction?

Jesus makes one such connection for us in the Parable of the Fig Tree. Notice from the passage that He specifically calls us to learn something from this parable, a parable that centers on how a fig tree functions: “When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near” (Mark 13:28 NKJV).

So a fig tree has a system built into it that indicates the timing of things. When the tree starts to sprout leaves, it means summertime is near. It’s a steady and reliable routine that repeats year after year.

We have something similar in South Florida. During the summer months, afternoon thunderstorms develop over the Everglades and push their way eastward, drenching everything in their path. When you see those dark thunderclouds, you know what’s next . . . because there’s a reliable rhythm built into nature. 

Jesus now attaches this truth to a spiritual reality: “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors!” (Mark 13:29 NKJV).

In context, Jesus is referring to the signs that will precede His return to earth. (You can read about them in greater detail in Mark 13:5-27.) When we see these things taking place, we can know what’s going to happen next. It’s like the fig tree announcing what season is coming next by putting out its leaves.

Again, we can learn a lot from nature. Not only does it instruct us on the transition of seasons and the passage of time, but nature also points us to the inevitability of God’s greater work. God does not want us to be taken off guard, especially when it comes to His return. That’s something He wants us to be ready and waiting for, and the fig tree along with the rest of His creation serves to keep us focused on it.

DIG: What can we learn from nature?  

DISCOVER: How would you summarize the point of the Parable of the Fig Tree?

DO: Consider ways you can be more mindful of God’s greater work in your life.

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.