When… Jesus was questioned
“Then Jesus told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig round it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-9
+ In the time of mercy bear fruit that befits repentance.
+ Delayed judgment gives people time to produce activity in their lives that is consistent with renewal of spirit and of life.
+ Does this mean life is actually about us and what we do and not so much about God’s grace?
+ Who can be saved?
+ How much is “enough” repentance?
+ How much fruit is enough fruit befitting repentance?
+ What about “it’s all about grace”? Are those empty words?
One word does not negate another. God calls us to live lives of repentance and to bear the fruit of a humble life. There is no cause for judging of others. There is no permission for hypocrisy, “Do as I say and not as I do.” Mercy does not give us permission to be lazy or take the Grace of God for granted.
The consequence of God’s Grace is growth. Grace planted in our lives should grow into acts of mercy and service to others and the refusal to judge as if we somehow know the scales of heaven.
Perhaps this parable calls us to be more like the gardener. He fertilized and tilled the soil He worked to nourish this parabolic plant! He spent his energy in mercy. What would that look like in in our lives? Shall we be about interceding on behalf of others? How can we help others grow in grace? How shall we SPEAK to them in encouraging and lovingly challenging ways?
Are you asking God to be gracious and merciful in the lives of others? Why? Or better yet, why not?