Text Illustrations
THE PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE


6 "Then Jesus told this story: 'A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. 7 Finally, he said to his gardener, 'I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.'

8 "The gardener answered, 'Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. 9 If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.'" Luke 13:6-9 NLT


Jesus tells a parable of the fig tree and its inability to produce fruit. Apparently, the gardener came back again and again to see if fruit was growing on the tree.

Unfortunately, there was none. Obviously, this story is symbolic of God coming to look for fruit to receive from His people. Jesus probably says this story in reference to God’s own people Israel whom He had given special attention to, but was not producing the fruit that He sought.


What kind of fruit does God look for from me? I assume He looks for the fruit of the Spirit in the life of the believer; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Galatians 5:22-23). It is both encouraging and troublesome to note that although the gardener in the story sought fruit from the tree, he did also give it, "special attention and plenty of fertilizer." I like receiving special attention from God. That sounds, well, special. To hear that the master Himself will give me special attention in helping me produce the fruit of the Spirit that He wants from me is very comforting and encouraging.


The troublesome part is what else He gives the tree in order to produce fruit. He gave it, "plenty of fertilizer." I often feel that I have plenty of fertilizer in my life, and I don’t find that all too encouraging. After all, what did they use as fertilizer in Jesus’ day? The same thing they use today. Manure. Poop.


I guess it just goes to show that God literally uses poop to bring out the fruit. Maybe I need to redefine those times when I feel like I am surrounded by poop. Perhaps I need to recognize that it is specifically in those times that I am actually receiving special attention from God Himself. Could it be that God is actually using that poop to refine me and draw out fruit from my life? I have a tendency to reject the poop in my life. I don’t like the smell of it. I don’t like the situation. I don’t like being surrounded by poop! It doesn’t matter if it is yours, mine, or anyone else’s! But what if the poop around me is actually God’s means of giving me special attention and producing lasting fruit from me? Maybe God recognizes that in order to develop lasting fruit, one needs to be exposed to plenty of fertilizer.



Verse 9 gives a sobering warning. "If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down." That is downright scary. Yes, God does give special attention. Yes, He does seek my growth and the fruit that I am to bear. Yes, He is merciful. He does offer grace. Still, there will come a time, when the talking ceases and the judgment comes. Have I experienced lots of poop in my life? Then I ought to be producing great fruit. Too many times I have heard God’s grace emphasized without placing an emphasis on His coming judgment. While it is by Jesus’ grace alone that I am saved, God does not expect that saving faith to come alone.

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