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The Principle of the Poor Spot of Ground

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The allegory of the olive trees, found in Jacob 5, features a vineyard, a servant, and a master. As the servant and the master labor to bring forth good fruit from the tame and wild olive trees, a set of branches is put in the nethermost region of the vineyard. When the tree brings forth good fruit, the servant is surprised.

“How comest thou hither to plant this tree, or this branch of the tree?” he asks. “For behold, it was the poorest spot in all the land of thy vineyard.”

The Lord of the vineyard replies, “Counsel me not; I knew that it was a poor spot of ground; wherefore, I said unto thee, I have nourished it this long time, and thou beholdest that it hath brought forth much fruit.”

Have you ever felt like you were planted in a poor spot of ground? If so, this scripture can provide some comfort.

We will all face trying circumstances when we feel hopeless or abandoned. Your family life may be turbulent or your financial situation dire. Perhaps you feel you were born without beauty, or talent, or a chance. In our desperation, we may feel the need to cry out, “Why was I placed in such a poor spot of ground?”

When these moments come, we can learn from the allegory of the olive trees that our Heavenly Father is aware of us. He knows where we are planted; in fact, he is the one who has planted us! Wherever we are, he did not put us there to wither. Heavenly Father seeks to nourish us. If we trust in him, we can bring forth good fruit.

Consider this anonymous testimony of someone who read this parable:

“These words seemed to speak to me. I understood that all through my upbringing the Lord had been tenderly nurturing me as a precious branch in his own garden. Humbled with my new comprehension, I considered the fruits he had cultivated. Would another spot of ground have taught me to hunger for his nearness so intensely? Experiencing firsthand what it is like to be downtrodden and poor in spirit showed me that I could always trust in the Lord’s comfort and guidance. Looking back, I would not have traded the Lord’s fellowship for soil less rocky and better watered.”

If you feel you are in a rocky place, the principle of the poor spot of ground is definitely one to study. You can read all of Jacob 5 here.


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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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