Sunday, March 03, 2013

Are you fruitful—or just using up the ground?

A fruitful fig - St. Michael's Church, Chemainus B.C.
A fruitful fig (St. Michael's Church - Chemainus B.C.)
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 13:1-9

"Then he said to the keeper... 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until i dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit well, and if not, after that you can cut it down.'" Luke 13: 7-9.

In this short parable (Luke 13:6-9) Jesus tells of a certain man who is weary of waiting for figs from his unproductive tree and wants his gardener to cut it down. The gardener, plant lover that he is, asks for one more chance to bring it to productivity.

A little about fig trees:
  • The ficus carica is indigenous to Asia Minor and can grow about 35 feet, flourishing even in stony soil.
  • They were customarily planted with vines (thus the saying 'to sit under one's own vine and fig tree').
  • Bringing fig trees to the fruit-bearing stage meant years of patient labour and so their destruction was a national calamity (Psalm 105:33) while their productivity was symbolic of peace and divine favour.
  • A healthy fig tree bore fruit for 10 months of the year, yielding three successive kinds of figs: - the late or autumn figs (Jeremiah 8:13); the green or winter figs (Revelation 6:13); the first ripe figs (Jeremiah 24:2) -  "Fig Tree" article in The New Bible Dictionary, p. 422.

What is the significance of Jesus' fig parable? Eerdman's Handbook of the Bible connects it with the earlier part of our reading:
"Roman troops had slaughtered some Galilean pilgrims in the temple at Passover. People assumed that the victims of the two disasters must have been especially wicked, but that was not true. The whole nation is ripe for judgment and will meet an equally horrible fate if present opportunities for a change of heart are let slip" Eerdman's Handbook of the Bible, p. 523.

The master's I-won't-stand-for-this-forever attitude toward fruitlessness should be a warning to us too. The gardener promised his master to give the fig tree one more chance by digging around it and fertilizing it. Here are some Bible suggestions on how we can dig around and fertilize our lives to increase our fruitfulness:
1. Be spiritually receptive - Matthew 13:23.
2. Die to ourselves - John 12:24.
3. Stay in contact with living water - Psalm 1:3.
4. Abide/live in Christ - John 15:5; Romans 6:22.
5. Welcome pruning - John 15:2; Hebrews 12:11.

PRAYER: Dear God help me to take to heart the lesson of this unproductive fig tree. I want my life to  be fruitful, even to old age (Psalm 92:14). Amen.

MORE: What fruit is our Gardener looking for?

1. Spiritual fruit comes in many varieties - Galatians 5:22-23

2. It is the product of heavenly wisdom - James 3:17.

3. It is without defect - Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11.

4. It is grown in good soil - Matthew 13:8.

5. It is ever-bearing, and even into old age - Ezekiel 47:12; Psalm 92:13-14.

Bible Drive-Thru

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...