Then [Jesus] told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing 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.’”
Does it spark joy? Over the last few years, many people have become familiar with that question because of the popularity of Marie Kondo and her KonMari system of tidying. Pick up any item and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” When the answer is yes, then you can be sure you’re retaining it for a good reason.
Does it seem like the fig tree sparked joy in the heart of the vineyard owner? Not so much. He saw little reason to keep it around. He’d been reasonable. After all, one would expect that a fig tree would produce figs. He’d been patient, looking for fruit from the fig tree for three years. To receive nothing in return for all his time invested sparked the opposite of joy. He was ready to get rid of it. The only thing that saved it was the intercession of the caretaker.
We also have a caretaker–a divine caretaker. Jesus pleads for us and nurtures us. His grace and forgiveness make us want to produce good fruit in our lives. Truly that sparks joy in the heart of God. And in our hearts, too.
Holy Spirit, you work in people’s hearts to bring them to repentance and faith. Graciously do the same for me every day. And then help me to produce fruits of faith and repentance in gratitude to you. Amen.