Everyone grows, but not everyone matures. ~Kemi Sogunle
Soon after we moved to North Carolina, I bought fruit trees. We were the owners of a small section of an old farm, and I was anxious to remind it of its purpose.
I planted several apple and pear trees, a peach, a plum, and a fig tree. The fig tree died.
My husband didn’t like weed eating around all of these trees. In a moment of Jesus- imitation, I think the preacher cursed the fig tree.
In Luke 13, the people are trying to establish their safety in God’s kingdom based on their ancestry. Jesus offers them little hope. He tells the story of a fig tree.
Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing 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.’” LK 13:6-9
The fig tree teaches us that we get a second chance, but nothing which only takes will survive, and there will be a limit to the second chances.
Is your trunk any stronger for the passing years? Do you open your Bible on Sundays but leave it resting on your bedside table every other day?
Maybe Spirit has been blowing spring zephyrs through your branches, but you’ve refused to bend in the breeze. Have you ignored the prodding to talk to the homeless man, invite your neighbor to dinner, or visit the nursing home?
Are your figs tough and pithy, unfit to eat? Has bitterness replaced your joy, hatred your love?
Take heart. There is hope. The gardener in Jesus’s story believes the fig tree can flourish with a little tender attention.
And Jesus believes it’s not too late for you.