As I stated in a post a few days ago, I am not a theologian. Today is further proof of that. I have heard this Gospel professed to me for many years now and I’ve always thought that the man who wants the tree cut down rather than to further exhaust the soil was God. I don’t know that is has ever been explained differently to me. But then I harken back to what St. Jerome told us so many centuries ago – ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. So now when I’m not sure of something, I look to the footnotes for a better explanation of what is being said. I did that this morning and realized that I’ve been wrong all these years about the parable of the fig tree…
[13:6–9] Following on the call to repentance in Lk 13:1–5, the parable of the barren fig tree presents a story about the continuing patience of God with those who have not yet given evidence of their repentance (see Lk 3:8). The parable may also be alluding to the delay of the end time, when punishment will be meted out, and the importance of preparing for the end of the age because the delay will not be permanent (Lk 13:8–9).
It makes a lot more sense to me now. God is the gardener who wants more time to cultivate the fruit from the fig tree. Thanks be to God…if He had given up on that tree we may have never had the famous Big Fig Newton commercials!!! I digress. Now understanding Jesus’ message to me this morning, I find two points being made from this parable.
First, God wants to take the time to cultivate us so that we too can bear fruit for those who encounter us to enjoy. We must bear fruit; we must be a source of nourishment for those around us so they too can be fruitful. Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it…The message I get from that is that when it seems like we are knee deep in the crap (fertilizer) around us, maybe that’s just God trying to “cultivate” our soil and make us better, more fruitful people for Him. I’m learning that sometimes I have to be knee deep (in it) in order to become a better husband, father, brother, uncle, man.
Second, if the cultivating doesn’t take, I will get chopped down…it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down. The parable may also be alluding to the delay of the end time, when punishment will be meted out, and the importance of preparing for the end of the age because the delay will not be permanent (Lk 13:8–9). I have to bear fruit for God otherwise what it the point of my living. That is some pretty stark reality for a Saturday morning. The last words from the Gospel today…If not you can cut it down. I don’t know about you, but I’m not about to be cut down yet. I will continue on with the theme of the week – I will chose Christ; I will chose God; I chose to serve. Let me be a man of righteousness and one that bears fruit to nourish all those I encounter in my life.
Do something great for our Lord today – be peachy! Be the Apple of His eye! Become the Big Fig Newton! In other words, bear fruit and love God. Orange you glad I shared this with you this morning.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid, just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.
He must increase; I must decrease.
But you, man of God, pursue righteousness,
devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.