One of the most interesting of Christ’s parables is about a fig tree. The fig tree wasn’t bearing fruit and the owner of the vineyard wanted it cut down. However the keeper asked if the decision could be delayed to give him a chance to work with it a little longer: ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down’ ” (Luke 13:8-9).
Before studying this parable, we need to look at the context in which it was given. Earlier in the chapter Christ is told about the “Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices” (Luke 13:1). Jesus also refers to another well-known disastrous event when the tower of Siloam collapsed on unsuspecting bystanders (Luke 13:4-5).
Christ uses these unfortunate events to teach an important lesson about the need to repent and change the direction of our lives before it is too late. He warns time and chance happen to everyone and we could be unexpectedly caught up in circumstances beyond our control, with the worst case scenario being our lives could be snuffed out in an instant.
This message is at the core of what Christ meant when first preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God as quoted in Mark 1:15: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” In other words, change and “bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8).
This important parable shows us God is compassionate, patient and loving, but He is also a God of judgment. We are told there is a time of final judgment on a life—especially a life that has had the warning and opportunity to make a decision to obey God. Our loving Father is patient and grants us time to change and bear fruit. Yet at the same time, none of us knows how much time we have left.
Remember God’s desire is that none perish (2 Peter 3:9) but that all produce abundant fruit and inherit eternal life! How about you? Do you know the purpose for your life and what it can become?
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