Scripture Reading: Luke 13:1-9
Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, “See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?” He replied, “Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig round it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.”’ –Luke 13:6-9
Most young fig trees do not produce fruit for four or five years. Yet once they begin to bear they will bring forth fruit for many, many years depending on the weather. Is this scripture a discourse on patience? Is it a suggestion that it is wise to listen to one with more experience? Does it serve to discourage us from jumping to soon to judgment? All seem plausible.
It is interestingly set between a parable that in my study bible is headed “Repent or Perish” and one headed “Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman”. Are these stories included with it meaningful, or does it just capture random parables of Jesus to save them for posterity? I suppose both are possible.
It may be a bit fanciful on my part, but I tried to think what message having the three together delivered. The best I could do was this: If we know what we are doing is wrong, we should stop doing it, although that is easier said than done. We need to be patient with ourselves and rely on our “gardener” the Holy Spirit to nurture us and bring us to fruition. And even if we totally mess up and end up with a crippled soul God can and will, if we let God, heal our souls.
Prayer: God of Might and Miracles, bless us this day to living our lives to your glory, forgive us when we fail, nourish us on our journey, and accept our imperfect love until it is made perfect through you. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.