Matthew 13; Luke 13; John 13
“Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’
“The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-9
This little account hidden in Luke’s Gospel is a reminder of the patient love of our God. God the Father is the man who planted the fig tree in his garden. It seemed to never produce fruit (faith). Jesus is the gardener. Any self-respecting land owner would get rid of plants which only used up the soil but produced no fruit. The Man’s order to cut down the tree is legitimate and logical.
But the gardener wants one more chance. Another opportunity to fertilize and prune, water and tend to see if this recalcitrant fig tree can produce new life and fruit. That gardener is Jesus and he is not talking about a “fig tree,” he is talking about people, you, me and others.
For aren’t we all too often like a tree, using up the soil and producing no fruit: no faith, no love, no works of love and service? God certainly has every right to cut us up and throw us into the fire. But Jesus, demonstrates great love and patience for us. He continues to tend and nourish and feed us . . . always seeking to coax the fruit of love and faith and service.
I have to confess, there are a lot of people I would probably just cut down and toss out, I pray God gives me the eyes of Jesus to see them as his dearly loved children. Come to think about it, there are probably a lot of times in my life when I was a non-producing tree that deserved to be cut down and tossed out. Thank you Jesus for being patient with me.
Thank you for being the God who: “will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle.” Matthew 12:20