Jesus used parables to help bring us to a point of seeing the necessity for God to be at work in our lives. There is a call for repentance and impending judgment but there is also a clear moment of grace.
Jesus told this parable, “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
– (Luke 13:6-9)
This parable is only found in Luke. The primary point of the parable, the hinge, seem to be verse 8, “Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure.” This verse is a moment of grace. I know it might be hard to imagine being covered in manure as a moment of grace. But the vinedresser is pleading for time for his nurturing care to begin to transform the barren fig tree.
The truth is that the there will a time for judgment but the vinedresser, our savior, seeks time for grace to be at work before the end.
We are now at a time when the nurturing care of Jesus must be extended towards the barren so that repentance and faith can be found. We are at the end times when we are being given an opportunity for repentance. We know our sins are great and grievous and that we deserve the judgment. The axe indeed is ready to cut down our barren lives. But we pray for compassion and opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and turn our hearts towards bearing fruits in line with repentance and faith.