Location: New England, United States

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Unfruitful Fig Tree

“A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?” And he answered him, ‘Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
Luke 13:6 RSV

Many times, Jesus told his audience stories or parables to make a point. This quote from Luke is the parable about the unfruitful fig tree. I know that many commentaries relate this story to the State of Israel, and the lack of fruit refers to their unrighteousness, but when I read the passage this morning, I saw that this parable is relevant today.

God plants his spiritual seed in our garden, or soul. It germinates sprouts and breaks free from the earth. As a seedling we have little to do but soak up the sunshine (God’s grace) and be watered by the rains (God’s word).

Then one day, we are a full grown tree ready to bear fruit. As Christians, we all bear different fruit. Some will bear the fruit of intercession or prayer, some worship and praise in song, some will witness to the world and others will teach the church. Although we each have our own fruit, we are all fruit trees and expected to bear.

In the parable above, God comes into the garden and sees that a full grown tree has not bore fruit for three years. He asks the vinedresser (Jesus) to pluck it out of the garden. Jesus asks for another year and he digs around the roots of the tree and spreads manure at the base of the tree.

So it is with Christians who do not bear fruit. Jesus will dig up your comfortable lifestyle. He will remove his sacred protection allowing the dirt of the world to surround you. You fret and stress. You try to fix the problem yourself, but then in desperation you call out, “God, help me!”

Satisfied, Jesus says, “Now you’re talking. Let’s get you back to bearing good fruit.”

I hope to see you in the harvest.


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