Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Parable of the Fig Tree: The Mercy of Change


“And He began telling this parable: "A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?' And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'"”         Luke 13:6-9 NASB


If you're just joining us, here are the links to the previous posts in the series: The Fig Tree With No FruitLiving Like a Barren Fig TreeCut It DownRemoving the Cancer of Hidden Sin, The Cost of Hidden Sin, and Why Does It Use Up Ground, as well as links to other "fig tree" posts: The Come Back TreeThe Lesson of the Fig Tree (One of my fav's), and My Daily Fig. (They'll open in a new tab)

We come now to the words of mercy in this passage. "Let it alone, sir, for this year, too..." The vineyard-keeper knew there was no fruit on the tree, but he was not willing to give up on it. Judgment hung over the tree, but mercy was requested. 

When the vineyard-keeper requested more time, he also announced his intent to take positive action. He would help the tree do what fig trees are supposed to do. He would fertilize it, dig around it, and loosen the soil around the roots.  The fertilizing and digging and loosening would all be done with an end goal in mind. There would be only one objective: FIGS.

Even when judgment was warranted, mercy was uppermost in the vineyard-keeper's mind. 

There's no doubt we, as a nation and as the church, deserve the judgment of God. His people have become so much like the world that we are often indistinguishable. Perhaps mercy has been given. Perhaps we have another chance, but that chance will not come without action from the One who lavishes His care on us. Fertilizer application and digging at the foundations are smelly, unsettling work. They bring change. 

God's work of redemption, His work of one-more-chance, will not leave us as we are. It may be smelly and unsettling. It may not come the way we would choose. 

We may not like the mercy of change offered, but we desperately need it. 

We need to be so unsettled that we fall to our faces and worship the One who created and sustains us. We need to be so disrupted that we take our eyes off that which tantalizes us and turn our faces to the God who loves us. We need to be so changed that our steps follow Christ without wavering.

There was no need for the tree to fear the care the vineyard-keeper planned, for it's only objective was productivity in order to avoid the ax of judgment. 

In that same way, there is no need to fear the mercy of change our Lord offers, for it, too, has productivity in mind. It, too, is given in order to avoid the ax of judgment.

If change is to come, and it is, let us embrace what God brings our way. Let us embrace and change, no matter how hard, with only one objective in mind. Bearing fruit. 

"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8 NASB


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Our Father, forgive us for our wrong priorities. Forgive us for chasing after our own goals. Help us to chase after You, to cling to Your ways, to strive to bear fruit for You. Make us what You meant us to be. In Jesus' name, Amen.
#Mercy #Parableofthefigtree #disciple #JesusChrist #Bible