“Look for three years I have come seeking fruit and find none, cut it down………….Sir let it alone this year, also, until I dig around it an fertilize it….”  Luke 13:7-9

Jesus has been teaching about many things.  He has been teaching about; no need to worry, preparing for the His return, divisions among families over Him, and hypocrisy, many weighty topics.  He has pointed out the judgments to come when people are not doing what they should be.  And now he tells a parable concerning a tree who will not bear fruit, with the owner wanting to cut it down.  Perhaps, it sounds like another parable of judgment; the cutting down and casting out.

Yet, built into this story, it seems to me are tremendous themes of mercy, patience and even sacrifice.  First, note how the owner has waited three years.  This is land that he owns, in the parable, this is described as a  vineyard, which is a type of agriculture that takes considerable effort.  So the owner has been putting forth that effort and yet there is no return.  One year goes by, perhaps that is a function of the weather conditions that year.  A second year goes by, maybe there is something with soil, so still the owner withholds action.  Now it is the third year, no matter what has been tried, this tree is taking up space, using up resources and has nothing to show in return.  It is time for the tree to go.

Wait, the gardener intercedes for the tree.  And note this, the gardener doesn’t just say, let’s give it one more year.  No, the gardener takes pity on this tree, He is going to do all that he can to help this tree, even though it has yet to bear any fruit.  He will expend the effort to dig around it, he will pay the expense to fertilize it; still not being assured that fruit will come.

Is it not possible the we are the trees?  God has created us and planted us where He wants us.  He patiently waits for us to produce fruit.  He blesses us with fulfilling the needs in our life and gives us the space, the environment to grow in Him.  Yet, so often we remain barren.  The fruit that He so wants to be able to share with others, does not come.  There is a time for judgment.  Then there is One who intercedes for us.  Whose mission, based upon the Father’s own plan, is to take our judgment upon Himself.  Jesus Christ comes to and for us.  He provides His very Body for us, like digging around us and fertilizes us with His very Blood!.

And what is the fruit that Our Heavenly Father wants from us?  What is the harvest that Jesus Christ works so hard to bring about?  Love.  Plain and simply; Love.  Love first for our Heavenly Father, and then Love for each other.  And, please take note, how much Love our Heavenly Father has invested in us, to bring about a harvest of Love in return.  While there will be judgment, if that is what we focus on, we miss the miraculously great lengths of mercy, patience, forgiveness and love, our Heavenly Father is willing to go, to forestall that judgment.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we humbly confess Your Righteousness and Perfect Judgment.  We repent of the sin of not producing the fruit of love for which You planted us on this earth.  We praise You for sending us a Loving Gardner, to nurture us, teach us, sustain us, to show us how to grow and to whose image we should be growing into.  Help us, Dear Father, to bear the fruit of Love toward You and each other that You long for us to have.  That we may truly be the fruit of Your Creation.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen

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