All of us have just been given a New Year full of new opportunities. It is very easy to live a purposeless life. A life void of spiritual drive and fervor. But what if you only had one year to live? Christ gave this parable in Luke 13:6-9 to speak to us about the responsibility all of us have to make the little time and opportunity we have count for eternity.
“A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.”
The vineyard owner in the parable had a fig tree that would not bear fruit. Year after year, in spite of his efforts, no fruit was to be had. The lord in the story grew angry with this uncooperative tree and told the dresser to cut it down. Why waste time and effort on a tree that bears no fruit? Why should it even cumber the ground beneath it?
If you have trusted the Lord as your Saviour, your life is like a tree in God’s vineyard. When the Lord looks at you, does He find fruit for all the care and love He has shown you? The Lord has every right to say to us, “I have given you an opportunity. It will not last forever, but you do have it for now. If you are just going to continue with doing business as usual, and never live anywhere near your full potential, why should I allow you to take up space on this earth?” But we have a merciful Interceder in our Lord Jesus Christ. He is praying for us and asking, “Can we give an extension of one year?”
If God said, “I’m going to give you one more year to be the person you ought to be and bear fruit by obeying My commands,” how would you live that year? What if that year was this year? What changes would you make? We can learn how to make the most of the opportunity God has given us by studying the teaching of Christ in this parable and the verses leading up to this parable.
“Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be fire in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.” Luke 12:51-52
Each of us must have a separating experience before we can be used of God to our full potential. This is a parting of ways with people, places, and things that crowd out the Lord Jesus in our lives. Are you willing to remove some good things from your life to make room for the best things? This can be a painful experience, but it is a very necessary one if we are to give God our very best.
“And he said also unto the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?” Luke 12:54-56
“…But how is it that ye do not discern this time?” God is moving and working in our lives at this very moment, but we must have the spiritual discernment to notice Him. The people in this parable were listening to the Lord Jesus teach right before their eyes, yet they did not recognize Him as their Messiah. Discernment is about being connected to the very heart of God and recognizing His work in your life.
Digging and Dunging
“And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it.” Luke 13:8
The dresser of the vineyard volunteered to dig about the tree and dung it to allow the tree a little more time and opportunity to bear fruit. This involves a loosening, shifting, and disrupting of the soil. It also involves adding the right nutrients needed for the tree to have the best growing environment possible. We must allow the Holy Spirit to stir up the hardened soil of our hearts and put in the right spiritual nutrients we need to grow.
Jesus used this parable to show the people that if they were ever going to do anything, they had a limited amount of time in which to do it. This is a truth we each must apply to our own lives. If each of us lived like this was our last year on earth, to accomplish the things God has put in our hearts to do, what would we do differently? Let us begin doing those things now.