“‘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.’”
One More Year
Spring is on its way in the Northern Hemisphere. In some places, farmers and gardeners have already begun planting their crops or tending their trees, hoping that they will produce a crop of delicious fruit later in the season.
But what if they don’t? What if no tomatoes grow on the tomato plants, no apples or peaches appear on the trees? The owner might check for pests and disease and treat them if he can. He might make sure that the plants are getting the right amount of water. He might check the soil and feed the plants with fertilizer or other nutrients.
But if that doesn’t work, he has a decision to make. Does he let the plant grow and settle for a little shade or a splash of green? Or does he cut it down or dig it up to get rid of it?
That was the question the man faced in a story Jesus told. His fig tree wasn’t acting like a fig tree. After three years, it still didn’t have any fruit. He was ready to cut it down. But the gardener asked for just a little more time—one more year of special care for the tree. What patience he showed!
Jesus shows that same patience with us. God designed us and planted us in this world to serve and obey him. But, too often, we only seek to serve ourselves, and we don’t live how he wants us to live. We don’t bear the fruits of love that he created us to bear. What should God do with us?
Praise God that he is patient with us! For Jesus’ sake, he nurtures us with his Word. He prunes us with his law and feeds us with his gospel. He plants us by the streams of his Word, connects us to Jesus by faith, and grows faith in our hearts that bears fruit of love to praise his name.
Now, given new life by our patient and forgiving God, we live to honor him with lives of fruitful service every day.
Merciful Savior, be patient with me. Through your Word of forgiveness, make my life fruitful for you. Amen.