Why doesn’t the fig tree bear fruit? Why don’t we bear the fruit of spiritual growth, of swelling?
Devotional for the Third Sunday of Lent
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.'” (Luke 13:7-9)
Why doesn’t the fig tree bear fruit?
Those who have tried to grow fig trees say that the fig tree is, by nature, easy to grow. But often, the tree does not bear fruit. And the most common reason for this is that the tree is not old enough. To bear fruit, a tree must also reach a certain age, a particular maturity.
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And there is nothing the garden owner can do about it. The gardener has to wait. Time cannot be rushed. Waiting for the fig tree to reach maturity requires time and patience.
Faith Grows Slowly
The growth and development of our every faith, the inner man, takes a long time. Change rarely happens overnight. Most often, the same scenarios, events, and challenges are thrown at us throughout our lives so that we learn and master something so that the spirit grows closer to God in faith.
Haven’t you ever wondered: “Why, God, did you delay in helping this person to recover, to convert, to improve his life, to change? Why didn’t you hasten the fruit of his life?”
Today’s parable answers. Because every tree grows in its own time. In God’s time.
Jesus is Patient
Because in today’s parable, the garden owner, Jesus, speaks the freshest words of hope we could ever long to hear. He says: give me one more year. Then, I will work this tree, care for it, and continue to bless it.
Suppose Jesus asks us for one more year. One more year to do what needs to be done. One more year to believe that you really are God’s beloved child. One more year to believe in God more than the other life guarantees. One more year to forgive yourself or forgive someone else.
What are your fruits?
So today, when you close your eyes and see yourself like a tree in the garden of life and Jesus as the gardener, hear this one sentence of his: “Leave it for one more year while I bury and fertilize it!” What do I want to do in this one year in my life, waiting on God?
What do we, as a community, need to do this year to bear fruit? What must we do as a church this year to let others know we are alive?
One small parable brings so many life-giving questions. And they make us look inside ourselves, at the tree of our life from the outside—this time with great love and not condemnation.
Prayer for Today
Lord Jesus, help us, your faithful, to find the absolute truth in the mists of life. Give us divine endurance and hope in difficulties. In the poverty of human life, teach us to share generosity and love. You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.