The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
6 And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 9 Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
If your life is anything like mine, your days are filled with one thing after another. From the moment the alarm clock goes off, we run around frantically from one thing to the next—getting the kids to school, racing to work, answering e-mails, returning phone calls, attending meetings, meeting deadlines, attending more meetings, running kids to practices and lessons, figuring out dinner, helping with homework, doing laundry, squeezing in a few hours of sleep, and then starting all over again in the morning. The schedules we maintain can be exhausting. It seems as if our culture is addicted to being busy. I often find myself asking the question, “In the midst of all the busy-ness, am I really accomplishing anything? Am I really being productive? Am I really doing anything that truly matters?”
In today’s reading from Luke, Jesus tells a story about a fig tree. The whole purpose of a fig tree is, of course, to produce figs, but this particular fig tree is fig-less. It looks like a fig tree. It smells like a fig tree. It feels like a fig tree. But, it is not doing what fig trees are created to do! Thanks to the gracious gardener in the story, the fig tree is not cut down—at least not yet—but is given one more chance, one more year, one more opportunity.
As followers of Jesus, baptized into God’s mission, we, like that fig tree, were created to produce fruit. Yet, all too often, the busy-ness of our lives gets in the way and, though constantly running from one activity to the next, our lives remain fruit-less. God, the gardener, is patient with us and each day gives us one more chance. I wonder, though, what we might eliminate from our lives so that the fruit of God’s kingdom might have more room to grow and blossom. I wonder how we might simplify our lives so that we have more time to spend with our friends, with our family, with God. I wonder if there is one activity in our lives that each of us might give up so that we have time and energy to focus on what is truly important. I wonder what we might produce in our lives if we would more fully trust the gardener of our souls and let God do in and through us what God intends. Perhaps there would be a harvest of figs so bountiful that the entire world would be fed.
Good Gardener of my Soul, uproot the weeds of my life that crowd out the good fruits of your kingdom. Unclutter my life so that there might be room for you to grow figs. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Written by Pastor Greg Busboom—Lead Pastor email@example.com