The Barren Fig Tree

And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’”

Luke 13:6-9

The parable of the barren fig tree is one of those little-known Bible passages which very little are said. I do not remember hearing a sermon preached with the same nor have read some comment. In this day I have read, it has called my attention. First, I see that is one of the 12 parables that only Luke presents and I see that none of his verses is mentioned in the Bible version I’m reading, Jesus does not explain the meaning of the parable. Maybe that makes I never hear about it. In this parable, the owner of the vineyard, i.e., the owner of the land, is presented for the third consecutive year seeking fruit on the fig and, finding none, he tells the farmer that cut off; but he asks for a year more opportunity in which he will take care of the plant to test if it fruits and that otherwise he would cut off. The fig tree story ends here and Jesus does not tell us what happened next or what he intended teaching us through the parable.

I have started to think about this story and see two things. The first one, in which I see the landowner who wishes to uproot a plant that is sterile for him, I see the unforgivable attitude of human beings before the mistakes of others. It is very common today as they are fired from their jobs for workers to make a mistake, as couples break up because one of them was wrong and the other did not forgive, as years of friendship are destroyed for an offense not forgiven. Unforgiveness is a destroyer cancer of every human relationship.

On the other hand, the farmer who asks the landowner another opportunity to test whether the plant will bear fruit. God every day gives us another opportunity to prove ourselves whether we’re going to give fruits of repentance; God does not condemn one but it says: You have once more for you to repent of your sins, to accept my gift of salvation, and giving fruits.

In the parable, the farmer asked the landowner a year and if, over time it does not bear fruit, the fig tree will be cut. In this we must understand that our passage through life has a limit. We will not be forever on this earth, and though God does not condemn us for the first offense, as humans do, but it will give us opportunities, nobody knows when we will end our lives. Therefore, now the opportunity not to be cut down and thrown into the lake of fire for eternity, do not wait another year because we do not know if our minutes are numbered. The time to repent is right now, this is the day that God made for you, to give you the most precious gift you have ever given: salvation and eternal life, through the vicarious sacrifice of His Son Jesus on the cross. Repent now, be no more a barren fig tree. God bless you.

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