Luke 13:6-9 – Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, `For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
“`Sir,’ the man replied, `leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ “
This parable seems intended to reinforce the call to repent in the previous verses. We may assume that the fig tree represents the nation of Israel, but we may also rightly apply it personally. God had chosen the Jews as His own people, to be direct recipients of His blessings, to be guided and protected by His laws and precepts, to serve Him and to make known His glory and salvation to the rest of the nations. They were a people of God’s own planting. He had set them in a choice land, a fertile vineyard with prophets, priests and kings to be caretakers. Among all the nations, they alone had the benefit of a rule of law and a moral code that was transcendent, not man-made but was from above! With such privileges and advantages, God rightly expected that the nation would produce the fruit of His kingdom and His righteousness. But, this fig tree did not yield such fruit. They were a sad disappointment. Instead of producing fruit worthy of God’s investment, they were a reproach to His name. For this reason, He justly determined to abandon them and cut them off. However, Christ the caretaker, interceded and God graciously gave them further time and mercy. He gave them another season by sending His apostles among them to call them to repentance and bring forth the fruit God had been looking for.
A fig tree that is planted in a vineyard is expected to produce fruit. If it does not produce, the space it takes up would be better served by another tree. John the Baptist warned the people of his day that THEY were this tree! The axe was already laid at the base of the tree since it was not producing fruit. He called them to repent and begin to produce the fruit that God had planted them for. They had ample time for fruit bearing and now were using up good soil that could be used by another tree that WOULD produce fruit! Christ Jesus followed John with the same message of repentance and the same call to produce fruit that demonstrated a changed life. Several times in the Gospels we hear Him declaring, “Unto him that hath it shall be given! To him that hath not it shall be taken away and given to him that hath.” The message was clear – USE IT OR LOSE IT! Produce fruit or be replaced by someone who will!
The message is a strong one, and yet, we still hear a hint of God’s tender mercy as the caretaker pleads to give the tree one more chance. With a little more loving care and fertilizing perhaps it will yet produce the fruit God is looking for! “If not, then cut it down.” How long has God been patiently waiting for you to produce the fruit of His righteousness on the tree of your life? Are you beginning to feel the blade of the axe? Will you spurn His kindness and grace one more season, or will you take full advantage of the call to repentance? Will you continue to be a disappointment to the Savior, or are you ready to start producing? Are you going to make good use of the ground that you’ve been planted in or will you be taking up space that someone else would gladly take advantage of? Why should you abuse God’s tender mercies any longer? Now is the time to demonstrate His goodness at work in your life!
Thursday: Meet together with at least 1 or 2 other believers to enter the Throne Room of Grace.
Friday: Pray for the families of the week: David & Sarah George (Nathanael & Rachael), Jon & Suzan George (Hannah, Abby, Jacob, Samuel, ?), Matt & Megan George (Nicole, ?).
Saturday: Take a good look at the tree of your life to see if you are producing fruit that pleases God.
Sunday: Worship God and allow His kindness to lead you to repentance – NOW!
Monday: Produce fruit that demonstrates you have repented of your sin and are leading a new life.
Tuesday: Pray for those who have not yet repented and are not producing fruit of God’s righteousness!
Wednesday: Don’t ruin the day of your opportunity to repent!
Prayer Challenge – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. – John 15:30-32