In the Bible, the gospel of Luke, chapter 13, Jesus tells a story of a fig tree which is planted in a vineyard. The owner of the vineyard comes to visit, but there is no fruit on the fig tree. The owner wants to tear the tree down and plant something else that will make good use of the soil (since if a fig tree hasn’t produced in 3 years it probably never will). But the caretaker of the vineyard talks the owner into giving him one more year with the tree. The caretaker wants to do three things. These three things I believe give us an important lesson for our lives as well.
1. Work the soil- The caretaker wants to first work the soil. He believes that
by preparing the soil, the tree will have a better chance. The truth is, without good soil, a tree cannot produce. This is true for you and me. If we don’t have good soil (which Jesus likened to our hearts), then we will not be able to produce. So we must make sure that we are letting God soften our hearts to care for others around us.
2. Fertilize- Second, the caretaker wants to fertilize. Fertilizer helps to put nutrients into the soil that will make the soil more able to nourish plants and trees. For us, fertilizer is the word of God and Christian fellowship. When we are reading the Bible and when we are around other Christians, we will be more likely to live in a way that will bless others around us, and help others understand the need to believe in and follow God.
3. Extra care- Last, the caretaker wanted to give the tree extra care. Sometimes extra attention can help provide the right conditions for growth. Maybe there are insects that are affecting the tree. Or maybe the tree isn't getting enough water. That extra attention can make the difference. This is true in our own lives. It is good to have someone in your life who is making sure that you are doing the things you need to do to grow. It is important to have someone checking up on you, in love, so that you might become all that God created you to be.This is a parable of second chances. This tree was given another chance. Jesus wants us to know that He gives us another chance. If we stumble, if we fail, if we stray, if we sin, if we feel like we don't measure up, Jesus is there to pick us up and help us move forward. As we enter 2012, let this be a reminder that you get another chance in a new year.