‘Jesus spoke this parable, ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his garden…’’ (Luke 13:6-9)
This short parable is one which not only offers hope but also contains a warning. Fig trees usually come to maturity after three years at which time they will bear fruit, however, this one had failed to do so. The owner wished to cut it down, but the keeper of the vineyard convinced him to wait one more year. So what do we learn from this – well a couple of things.
One of the most searching questions we can ask of ourselves is what purpose we have in life. It’s one of the most profound questions we can ask ourselves and one which will produce a whole host of emotions and thoughts from within us as we search for that answer. Why? Because we need to believe that we have some purpose in life and at one level this parable suggests that too. Indeed it goes further and suggests that to have no purpose and to be of little use invites ruin upon ourselves. As children of God our purpose is to glorify Him through worship and service. Are we fulfilling that purpose?
The parable then goes on to teach us that if we simply take all the time without giving anything in return then again we will face this same ruin. The fig tree was drawing sustenance and nourishment from the soil which was being tended around it, but offering nothing in the way of fruit in return. How much more does God provide sustenance and nourishment for us each and every day – and what do we offer Him in the way of fruit in return?
Finally, the parable offers us hope. Such is His love for us and such is His gracious mercy and compassion that God will always give us another chance. Yet even here we have a final warning. Yes, God will always give us another chance however, if we continue to refuse God’s grace and mercy, whilst He will not refuse us, by our choice and action, ultimately we will refuse Him and be cut off from Him for all eternity.