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 an fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ”
I love this parable for many different reasons. It assures me that God never gives up on us and protects us from him who desires to cut us down. But I also discover in this parable that He digs around in our lives to search out the things that keep us from bearing fruit.
God does not want us to simply use up the ground or take up space. A friend of mine in high school wrote under his senior picture the following: “Participated in the space program—took up space.” That is not the rich and full Christian life God intends for any of us. As His children, we are meant for much more than just taking up space until we arrive home in heaven.
God desires a vibrant and full life of fruit bearing for each of His children. But it is also true that fruit bearing requires His attention in our lives. Sometimes He must dig up hindrances, and other times He must fertilize, or add to our lives the things that encourage fruit.
Has God been digging around in you lately? He has in me, and He digs up things that I really didn’t want to know about myself. He exposes wrong attitudes and indifferences, selfish places and mind-sets that need to be removed. But He also shows me things that I must begin to do in order to bear fruit in all aspects of my life.
Remember, this is a parable, an earthly story with a spiritual meaning. The fig tree is our lives, and the vineyard is the world. The keeper of the vineyard is the god of this world, and the vinedresser is the Father (John 15:1). The fruit is the spiritual fruit of both personal growth and the expansion of God’s kingdom.
God’s desire is that you grow and bear much fruit. He is not willing to cut you down, even if there has been little or no fruit produced to this point. God is committed to you and to your reflection of Him in this world.
Let God dig around in your life. Listen to what He is telling you about you. Add to and remove the things He reveals. If you do, your life will produce the rich, full fruit that He intended. Yes, it hurts to look at the things He digs up sometimes, but it would hurt a lot more to have as a epitaph at the end of your life “Took up space”!
Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.