Time in the Scriptures
Pray: Ask God to grow good fruit in your life.
Read: Luke 13:6-9
Many people treat parables as allegories, that is, as stories where there is a one-to-one correspondence between elements of the story and elements of real life. There are very good reasons to think Jesus’ parables are not allegories. For example, you can’t say “God is the gardener” or “God is the man” in this story; neither one works. Instead, read parables for insights about life and God; look at them from different perspectives; think about the things that are puzzling. For example:
The owner gets mad at a fig tree that doesn’t bear fruit. Does God get mad at people who don’t “bear fruit”? Do we?
Have you ever wanted to “cut down” someone who wasn’t living up to your standards of fruit bearing?
When in your life have you received a second chance at fruit-bearing?
Do you assume that second chances will always come? Is it fair for the gardener to say “if it bears no fruit in a year, chop it down?”
When was the last time you interceded on someone’s behalf and spread a little fertilizer in the hope that they would bear fruit?
Have you ever had to “cut down” someone (e.g., fire them) for repeated failure? Is it ever OK to do so? Does God ever cut us down?
Are there any programs in your church, or activities in your life, that aren’t bearing fruit? Try looking at the parable again in light of some fruitless activity.
Pray for people who are stuck in a fruitless rut.
Caring through Action
The main “fruit” God asks us to bear is love for one another. Look for a simple way to care for someone today.