I get impatient with plants that don’t seem to grow fast enough. Sometimes I’ll mention to my wife that I’m going to dig up that plant that seems barely alive and toss it over the hillside to make room for something better. She will invariably say, ‘no, I’m working on that rosebush or whatever. Leave it alone ’til next year.’ And next year comes– and so do the good results of her patience and hard labor.
Today’s Bible passage is the parable of the barren fig tree. Figs are a marvelous source of vitamins and minerals, in addition to being naturally sweet and high in fiber. A good sustainable source of food in Jesus’ day as well as our own. Jesus tells this story of a man who plants a fig tree in his vineyard, while coming back year after year to see how productive it has been. But nothing shows. Three years in a row– no fruit! So, he tells the vinedresser that that’s enough time. This tree is taking up valuable space. ‘Cut it down,’ he says. Get rid of it. Take it out of my sight.
But the vinedresser, who has been watching this tree carefully for three years now, asks for one more year. He has plans to dig around the tree, breaking up the sand and soil. Toss on some good fertilizer, enriching the soil, making things happen for next year. Give it time, he recommends. Don’t be too quick to cut it down. Hang in there… a tad longer. A bit of patience goes a long way.
Patient with ourselves as the Lord is. Allowing Him to bring new growth into our lives. Here’s something else–being patient with someone else. Now I’m stepping on toes–my own! Give them the time to grow. Help them to wait on the Lord’s good work in their lives… and your own. Good idea? Put it into practice!
Prayer: Lord, have your way with me, with us. Make me who You want me to be. In Jesus’ name. Amen.