Luke 13:6-9

Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-9

Yesterday I talked about living in the hope of things in our lives getting better. Today’s reading makes the same point.

You can read this parable as referring to Israel. Initially given the promise of God that God would bless them, and through them, bless the whole world, the parable says that, in Jesus, Israel is being given another opportunity to remember who they are and what they are about in the world.

You can read the parable as referring to the Christian movement down through the ages. We have forgotten who we are time and time again. History is littered with examples of Christians acting in very un-Christ-like fashion and the damage that has done both to people and to the Christian witness. Yet God is patient, even with the Church, and God is ever willing to accept our repentance and guide us toward fruitfulness that matters.

Or you can read it personally, as I am doing this morning.

I can’t tell you how many promises I have made through my lifetime that I would make this change or that change or do this or do that, and how many of those promises that I have made to God, myself, and others, that I have miserably failed in keeping. But God isn’t giving up on me. I get another chance. Things can get better.

My personal goals right now are very simple. Every day I want to pray and ask God for help and guidance, be the best husband and father my wife and children deserve, do my job as well as I can, drink a lot of water, make time to have fun with exercise, and depend on other people to help me. That is about it. That’s what I can do.

I will very likely fail at one or more of those at some point during the day – but such failure is not inevitable. God gives me the power to make choices and act on them. And even if I do fail, God will be patient with me as God is patient with all of us.

If I listen closely enough to the truth of that last sentence, there is a very good chance that I can also be patient with myself, even as I seek God’s help in doing what I can.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, you are so patient with us. You are the God of the second chance, the seventy seven times seven, chance. Like fertilizer slowly makes it healing ways through the plants that it feeds, may your Spirit slowly and steadily continue to lead, guide, empower, and encourage us, toward lives of love and fruitfulness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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2 Responses to “Luke 13:6-9”

  1. Gloria Smith-Rockhold Says:

    This devotional really spoke to me this morning. You hit the proverbial nail right on the head. Thanks for expressing what is my story as well, promising things, then failing, then promising and failing yet again. And the ever present hope that we get to start all over with God at our side. Praise be to God!

  2. Carolee Groux Says:

    Sometimes I wonder if God isn’t too generous in forgiving us over and over again, “seventy times seven” the bible verse says. Often we commit the same sin time and time again.
    As an example I have a cousin who asked my forgiveness for forging a reference he wrote for himself in my name for a bible camp counselor job. He was found out when the camp director asked for confirmation from his references, including me. We had a discussion on honesty, and I forgave him. But then he turned around and forged a second reference from me. I found it very difficult to forgive him for the same sin a second time, but I have. However that is the kind of forgiveness God willingly and mercifully gives us if we are truly repentant. (Perhaps this cousin of mine is not truly repentant.) But that is not my business; it is between him and God.

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