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.’ ”
There are Christians who are using up the soil. There have been seasons where I’ve been taking up space too. We are planted. We have all that we need, but there is no fruit evident in our lives. In the parable the owner says, ‘Cut it down!’
Who is this caretaker? Maybe it is someone like Moses who pleaded with the Lord when the Israelites were complaining and moaning. God was going to destroy them and start over again with Moses. Moses pleads for the people and God relents. The owner of the vineyard relents after this caretaker suggests a one-year strategy – we’ll dig around the tree and fertilize it… if it doesn’t produce fruit next year, then we’ll cut it down. “We already have 3 years invested in this tree,” I imagine him thinking. “Let’s take some action and give it one more chance.” We don’t know what the owner said, but the implication was that that was the plan.
What’s the point of Jesus’ parable? God expects fruit! Taking up space is not okay. Our lives need to have something to show for the investment He has made in us. The life of Jesus needs to be lived through us and reproduced in others. Fruitfulness is loving others for no reason except that we’ve received such great love. It is…
“…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Our God is so loving that it’s hard to imagine that He would ‘cut us down,’ but He would. Using up the soil is not acceptable for our Holy God. He has expectations of the life He’s invested in us. He expects fruitfulness.
As we’ve learned from John 15:1-8, fruitfulness does not come through our own efforts. Fruitfulness comes naturally, automatically, as we are connected to the Vine, Jesus. Our highest calling in life is to remain in vibrant relationship with Jesus.
Lord, be fruitful through my life this day. Lead me, prune me and use me for Your purposes.