About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. 2 “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?”
Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? 3 Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God.4 And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? 5 No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”
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.’”
I loved the NLT translation of Luke 13:6-9 where the gardener responds to the man saying, “Give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I will give it special attention.” This passage is moving for so many reasons, but I was particularly struck by the relationship of the gardener to the man who owns the fig tree. Because, of course, the gardener could let the owner make the call about the tree, but he gently requests “let me.”
Let me take care of it. Let me show you the potential. Let me make room for growth. Let me give special attention. Let me call forth purpose. If you will let me, I will.
It’s one thing to yield to the Lord’s pruning but I don’t think we are always aware of our desire (and need) for his attention. How many things in our lives seem to be “taking up space” and not flourishing like they should? Maybe we haven’t disobeyed God in those areas, but rather haven’t let Him lavish His undivided attention on that area.
1. Luke 13:1-9.
Featured Artwork by Camille Waterfallen in response to the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree