” ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ “ Luke 13:8-9 (NIV)
People came to Jesus with their concern. They brought to Jesus´ attention the fact that some had fallen on hard luck. It looks as if innocent people had suffered and died. Do we want to know why? Is it difficult for us to fathom why good people must suffer bad things? Is bringing to Jesus our cares and difficulties the best place we can go? Does it mean we are receptive to hear what He will tell us? Could we observe as He instructs these questioning souls long ago? Will our eyes open too as He leads us all forward into the knowledge of His Father and the Heavenly Kingdom?
Could we note first that the Savior recognized that people had been hurt? Does it make us feel reassured that our suffering does not pass unnoticed? But curiously does the Lord turn our questions back upon us? Does He bring each and every lesson into a pertinent and vital connection to us personally? Does He leave us room to hold our beliefs far from our hearts? Can we leave them as distant facts or cold conclusions? Or does everything that has to l with our God and our souls need to be in direct contact? Are we actually brought before Him? Is Jesus asking us what we think of those who suffer bad luck?
Do we stop to consider? What do we think? As Jesus directs us on the subject, do we notice where He goes with His teaching? Does He go into lengthy excuses? Or does He keep the Lord high above our earthly issues? Does He pull us into His parables? Does He place God as a Land Owner? Are we described as trees intended to produce fruit? Do we notice a difference of points of view? On one hand should the trees and plants judge the intentions the Owner has for their growth? On the other hand is that Owner planning and running His fields in an organized and productive manner? Are His intentions for all His garden, working on a greater level than merely making sure nothing bad happens to a plant? Would He know better than the tree what is best for the overall production of His precious crop? By asking us to repent is He asking us to take a look to make sure we are looking up to God? To carry our His wish, would we need to bow to God as if we knew He was at work in our lives? If we replace our own souls for the trees in the Lord´s story, can we realize the concern and foresight God has given for each of us? While leaving His intentions far higher than our own, does it still tie us to Him in a personal Way?
In our brief parable do we find an even sweeter truth than that God sees each of us? Is there a treasure buried here even more wonderful than knowing the Lord is calling us all to have part in His great scheme? Is there mention here of a Man who looks after the garden? Who might that be? Is there this Other Person concerned for the well-being of us individual trees? Is this One working faithfully with the best intentions of both the Land Owner and each plant? Has Jesus demonstrated this kind of care towards us? Would He dare to confront His Father and plea to let Him work with us? Does He think that maybe just a little more effort may help us grow enough to please the One who deserves to see results? Could we realize today that repentance ties us to the Lord? Can we see that thinking of injustice takes us elsewhere?
Dear Jesus, thank You for having patience and caring for us. Thank You for giving us another shot? Help us to see our need to come closer to our God! Let Your work in us not be in vain!