Summary: God’s mercy works long with us, but we will one day be called to give account.
One More Year
Luke 13:6-9 (NRSV vs. 8)
January 4th, 2003.
Do you remember where you were? What you were doing? Who you were with?
Do you remember where you were? Where you were when the count down went from 5 to 4 to 3 to 2 to 1? Do you remember where you were when the ball dropped? Where you were when the year 2002 passed into history and 2003 became a reality?
Do you remember where you were at that time?
Maybe you were at home celebrating with the ones you loved the most. Opening up some Welch’s, lifting your glasses and toasting the New Year. Maybe you were at church praising God and thanking Him for the gift of another year.
Maybe you were out with friends having a good time.
Maybe you were even asleep, resting comfortably in bed while the world sang Auld Lang Sine.
I don’t know where you were or what you were doing or who you were with but the fact of the matter is that we now have been blessed to see one more year.
Through all the ups and downs, mountains and valleys, joys and sorrows, victories and defeats, good days and bad days, we are able to see one more year.
That should be enough for someone to say Amen.
That should be enough for us to say thank you Jesus.
That should be reason enough for someone to let out a Hallelujah.
One more year in the land of the living.
One more year where we begin six feet above rather than six feet below.
One more year where we can come into God’s house and fellowship with God’s people and praise His name on God’s holy Sabbath day.
One more year of abiding peace and overflowing joy and abounding love and assuring hope and amazing grace.
One more year.
You see one more year brings new blessings. It brings new opportunities.
It brings new hope and a new start. But it also brings new responsibilities.
As we begin this New Year, I would like to direct our attention to a parable of Jesus that talks about the responsibilities of one more year.
It is the parable we read earlier from Luke 13.
A parable sweet in its simplicity yet powerful in its profundity.
The Bible says in verse 6 that “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard.”
Notice church that this fig tree was planted in a vineyard.
Now must of us know that vineyards are supposed to grow grapes.
Fig trees aren’t usually placed in vineyards.
They grow by the wayside.
They grow on hard ground.
They depend on the rain that falls from the sky.
But there is something special about this fig tree for it has been planted in a vineyard.
In the vineyard, the soil is fertile.
The ground has certain nutrients in it that causes the trees to flourish and be fruitful.
In the vineyard, there was someone who cared for the trees and made sure they had enough water and enough warmth.
Someone who would trim the leaves and dig up the soil and even fertilize the ground.
In short someone who provided for the trees every need.
You see you and I seated in here today are like that fig tree.
God has taken us from the wayside lives that we were in before.
He has moved us from the hard ground lives of darkness and despair and degradation and disobedience.
He has taken us from out of the wayside times of no hope, no peace and no joy and He has planted us in His vineyard.
He has placed special blessings in our lives.
I’m glad today to be a part of God’s vineyard.
To be in the place where the blessings are coming down and the praises going up.
To be in the vineyard where we are constantly fed by the word of God and watered by the Spirit of God and warmed by the grace of God.
To be in the place where we don’t have to worry about tomorrow for “my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory.”
Don’t you know church it is a privilege to be a part of God’s vineyard.
We have a revelation of who God is.
We have a glimpse of His love for us.
We know that when we are burdened we can take it to God in prayer.
We know that when we are weak, He is strong.
We know where our help comes from.
It is a blessing I say today to be a part of the vineyard.
But the text tells us that one day the owner of the vineyard showed up.
He made his way past all the other plants, and headed for this fig tree.