“He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, “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. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ “” (Luke 13:6–9 NKJV)

This passage “happened” to come up at an interesting time. The owner of the vineyard has in his scope of vision the entirety of his vineyard which apparently includes fruit trees. A person plants vines and trees in order to harvest the fruit off of them. If it fails to produce then it is just using up the soil for nothing that could otherwise benefit the vines and trees that are being productive. Since it isn’t being productive the owner wanters to the person in charge of tending the vineyard to cut it down. The person suggests giving it one more year, but this year it will have the benefit of some specialized care. It’s curious that Jesus leaves the parable at that. I, for one, would love to know how it ends.

The Lord is in the business of being fruitful. In John 15 He talks about pruning a vine so it bears more fruit. He says that you can know a tree by its fruits. Sometimes things need to be fertilized in order to be fruitful. I can be like that. I get enough to survive but not enough to be fruitful which is the point. Sometimes things need to be felled. Churches can be like that. Nations can be like that. Humanity can be like that (see Genesis 6). Above all it seems that bearing fruit is the goal, whatever it takes, even if it means a do over. I don’t want to be one who has to keep starting over. I want to be fruitful.

Jesus, I’m sorry for only getting by. I’m sorry for only getting enough to survive and not thrive. Sometimes survival is all I can manage. Dig around me and fertilize me so that I might bear fruit. Amen.