The Fig Tree: A Lesson in the Patience and Judgment of God
What does a parable about an unproductive fig tree have to do with how you’re going about your life? The answer is—quite a biHe desires
In Christ’s parable of the barren fig tree, the owner was going to have it cut down—a final solution for something unproductive.
The parable of the barren fig tree offers both good news and bad news. The good news is that God is merciful and willing to forgive. The bad news is that even God’s patient mercy has its limits. Neither you nor I want to be on the receiving end when God’s patience runs out. It’s better to repent while we have the opportunity!
Repentance is not a fashionable word today. Its basic meaning is to change. It means to stop doing something that’s not productive or taking you in a wrong direction.
Jesus Christ spoke one of His most interesting parables about a barren fig tree. Here’s what He said: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down'” (Luke 13:6-9).
Fruit trees require lot of care and proper handling to continue producing luscious fruit year in and year out. It’s rewarding to see a tree bending under the weight of apples, pears, oranges or grapefruit. To go into your backyard and pick your own fruit you watched develop and ripen is both instructive and rewarding.
It’s instructive in that we see how fruit develops on a tree. We see the bloom appear and then the first buds of the fruit begin to grow and develop through the months. Seeing the process teaches more than we learn by going to the market and buying the fruit off the stand. Fruit doesn’t just appear in the grocery store; it’s not grown on a delivery truck. It takes time and care to nurture and develop.
It’s rewarding to take part in the process by which fruit grows. Your efforts combine with the work of nature to bring fruit to harvest.
The harvest of ripened fruit is the reason the tree is taking up valuable real estate. Satisfaction is so important in this process that when there is no fruit you stand looking at the tree trying to understand why it has borne no fruit. I’ve stood looking at barren trees and asked myself the same questions. Before delving further into the parable, we need to look at what Christ was saying before He gave it.
A message about repentance
At the beginning of Luke 13 we see where Christ had been informed about some “Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices” (Luke 13:1). It was an atrocity committed by the Roman ruler of the province upon the Galileans. We’re not told whether there was any provocation. Was it done in retaliation for an attack on the Romans, or was it just done on the whim of the Roman governor as a display of Roman ruthlessness to keep the locals in fear? We don’t know. However, Christ used it to teach a profound lesson, and as He often did, He moved right into a parable to drive home the point.
In Luke 13:2 Jesus responded to the news: “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (emphasis added throughout).
Time and chance happen to everyone, Solomon once wrote (Ecclesiastes 9:11). We don’t always control the events that can happen to us with the rush of events and everyday life.
Jesus was saying that these poor people were just like everyone else. They were human, with weaknesses and strengths like everyone else. They were going about their daily lives and were suddenly caught up in an event that happened to come their way.
In the next verses Jesus referred to another well-known recent event, the collapse of a building on unsuspecting bystanders: “Or those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwell in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4-5).
Two stories from everyday life. Two calls to repent, to change the direction of one’s life. In telling them that they could “likewise perish,” Jesus was warning that they could be like those who, unexpectedly caught up in circumstances beyond their control, had their lives snuffed out in an instant.
That’s sobering. We don’t like to think about it, and to be blunt, most of us don’t consider that life is really like this. But it is. There are no guarantees.
Every day we hear news reports of accidents, natural catastrophes and attacks that take innocent lives. People suffer loss of property, lands and rights because of actions taken by others with little thought about what’s right or wrong or just.
The world is often this way, and we need to understand the implications. Jesus was being blunt—realistically blunt—with His audience. Events happen in this world over which you have no control, and sometimes good and well-meaning people—people just like you and me—get hurt. His point was that we understand this and do what we can and should do, realizing that time and chance could unexpectedly strike at any time.
Change and produce
Repentance is not a fashionable word today. You might even need to go to a dictionary to look up the meaning. Its basic meaning is to change. It means to stop doing something that’s not productive or taking you in a wrong direction. It means to stop going in one direction of life, a direction that can be self-destructive, and to turn around and go another—in a way that’s productive and even godly.
Biblically, and as Christ meant it here, it means to stop breaking the law of God and begin to obey God’s law. Christ meant it in the same way He used it when first preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God as quoted in Mark 1:15: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” It means that through this announcement a new order of life is at hand and we need to obtain a mind-set that fits. It means to “bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8).
Which leads us back to the parable.
An unproductive fig tree in a vineyard is pretty much useless—unless you’re like Nathaniel and want to use it only for shade (John 1:48). And if it hasn’t produced fruit for three years in a row, a remedy needs to be applied. It isn’t that the tree is dead and incapable of producing. The tree hasn’t had the proper care and feeding and is just there, marking time. It’s like a lot of people—alive and breathing, but not really going anywhere.
How about you? Do you understand your life? Can you make sense out of this confusing, sometimes disorderly and uneven existence? Do you know the purpose for your life and what it can become? Forget for a moment the bigger question of “the meaning of life” and just focus on you. What is the purpose for you drawing breathg food and taking up space on this planet?
If you don’t know, or if your answer is pretty weak and unsure, then just consider for a brief moment that this unproductive foftree could be a symbol of your life. You are alive. You have a “place.” But are you producing fruit? Are you living as part of a bigger, overarching purpose?
You can find the answers to these questions. And they can make a positive difference in your life. And God wants you to find the answer!
Extending time to turn things around
The vineyard owner’s solution to this unproductive fig tree was blunt: “Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?” (Luke 13:7).
This is a hard solution, and a final one. It shows us a truth about God. God is full of mercy and compassion. He is patient and loving. But God is also a God of judgment, and Christ is warning here that a time of final judgment will come on a life—especially a life that has had opportunity, warning and the benefit of the doubt. When linked to the earlier statement unless you repent,” we learn that there’s a way to avoid being “cut down” and considered of no value.
Don’t be discouraged! The remainder of the parable shows us the way out!
The keeper of the vineyard answers the own: “Sir, let it alone this year also, the until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down” (Luke 13:8-9).
The keeper asks for one more year in which to work with the tree—to turn it around and make it useful and productive. There are hope and every expectation that the wise and capable attention of the keeper will produce a new burst of productivity so that the next harvest will see fruit on the tree. That is the key thought here.
We can see that God is in a dual role here as both keeper and owner of the vineyard. This shows us that God both owns us and gives us room regrow spiritually, but He also expects us to produce “fruit”—the product of a life of good works of righteousness.
Galatians 5:22-23 defines the kind of fruit God wants to see produced in our lives: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” The apostle Paul explains here that these qualities are the fruit of God’s Spirit. They are what can be produced by God through our lives when we repent and believe the gospel, surrender ourselves to Him and allow our lives to be led by His Holy Spirit.
This parable of a barren fig tree is meant to teach us a vital truth. R, repentance is necessary, and it is possible with God’s help. He is patient and grants us time to change and bear fruit. Yet at the same time, none of us knows how much time we have left—so we’d better get moving!
God in His judgment is always just, and only He understands the depth of your life. That He is aware and inspecting His “vineyard” to know the condition of each of His trees is a comfort. His desire is that none perish (2 Peter 3:9) but that all produce abundant fruit and inherit eternal life!
Sometimes before it gets brighter, it gets darker.
Before we see more than enough, we go through a season of not enough.
There are times the good has to come to an end to make room for the best.
It doesn’t make sense to us.
“Why did my career slow down?
Why did this person walk away?
Why did this door close”? It’s all a part of God’s plan.
He’s shaking things up to move you out of good into the best.
If He didn’t close those doors, you wouldn’t see the fullness of your destiny!
When we get anxious, we need to be on the lookout for ways that God is helping us.
Don’t live demoralized.
Trust that God is in control, that He’s not only directing your steps, but also directing the steps of the people you need.
He’s putting you in the right place at the right time.
Live in peace, knowing that the Creator of the universe has ordained your future.
At the appointed time, you’ll come into destiny moments, where God lifts you to new levels!
I want to encourage you to unbalanc what’s inside of you.
Stir up your capability, stir up your dreams, and stir up your passion
It can be as good as ever.
God didn’t create you just to suffer life, but to enjoy life; not to be average, but to be extraordinary!
It is hard to see and experience the beauty in life when we are sick and feel terrible. People often write me and ask for my prayers for their family during a serious and often self-inflicted health crisis. What they don’t understand is I have been praying for them for years by trying to inspire them to evolve their lifestyle. The best time to pray for your health is long before a crisis. The best prayer is a prayer of action. The best time to pray for your deliverance is today. The most sincere prayer for health is the daily prayer of respecting your body temple. You can’t dig your own grave with a spoon for decades and then expect a miracle to pull you from the depths of that deep hole because you uttered one shallow last-minute plea for help. It’s insincere. The truth is you have been praying for decades with your actions, and your unwholesome prayers are being answered. You really do get what you faithfully ask for with your actions. What are your actions asking for right now? Be careful what you ask for; you may get it. Quit abusing your body temple today. Pray for your deliverance tomorrow – by taking good care of yourself today. This message “is” my prayer for you right now. I hope it will penetrate your heart and inspire you to make the changes that you need to make in your life.
The emerging worldwide health pandemic has it’s roots in the ways we produce and consume. Unhealthy relationship models between producers and consumers have tragic effects on society and the environment. What we are really suffering from is consumption illness. Consumption illness is most obvious with fast food and less obvious with entertainment, news, media and other addictive products of little real substance. We are consuming what is artificial and bad for us. We are in poor physical, mental and spiritual health because of what we consume; not only what we eat, but what we consume in the form of all products, and also with all of our senses such as our sight and hearing. We are addicted to trash, and we are rotting from the inside out. Our consuming predilections are often encouraged by irresponsible corporations who wish to realize a profit even if it hurts their customers. Selfish and irresponsible corporations are subsidizing their profits with our losses in the form of our anguish, pain, suffering and sometimes death. This is the definition of violence and abuse. The propaganda spear-point of corporate conquest is often the promise of convenient, consistent and cheap goods and services. Cheap food and goods are dangerous illusions that do not exist. What you don’t pay at the checkout, you pay at the hospital. How we produce and consume is really about how we relate to the world, to other people and to ourselves. So becoming healthy has everything to do with developing a respectful relationship with yourself and environment. You have to encourage an appreciation and develop an appetite for what is beautiful, real and life sustaining, and turn away from the ugliness. You must take responsibility for your health and realize that your are a sensitive being and that ugly thoughts, foods, relationships, and energies can and will harm you. There is an undeniable mind-body connection. A healthy and pure body lends to a healthy and pure mind.
“Internal and external purification are the first, crucial steps towards achieving maximum health and vitality. By cleansing your body on a regular basis and eliminating as many toxins as possible from your environment, your body can begin to heal itself, prevent disease, and become stronger and more resilient than you ever dreamed possible” – Dr. Edward Group, III.
I was raised in a culture of quietly “polite” judgments; a pressure-cooker of seething hatred, prejudice, violence and ignorance. Making matters worse, my self-esteem had been crushed through years of secreted childhood bullying and abuses, which would take me decades to overcome. What I remember the most about my childhood is constant fear – and “good food”. The catfish and fried chicken were amazing! I was never really taught about healthy eating. To the contrary, my cultural inheritance was learning to “treat yourself” at “special occasions” by gorging on every horribly delicious food you can imagine. I don’t want to get into the greasy, buttery, deep-fried, fatty, sugary, meaty, barbecued details here, but let’s just say if gluttony really is the second deadly sin, then I knew a lot of people on their way to hell. With no knowledge of positive psychology, real foods or healthy lifestyles, time took its toll on me, and the invincibility of my youth diminished as my gut and waist-line expanded.
Much later in life, I found myself living (dying) in a suburban basement, like a hunchback shut-in, not leaving for months at a time because of embarrassment and chronic pain. It was really bad, and sad. I had no one to help me with my plight. I cried out for help to those closest to me, but my pleading was met with cold detachment and uncaring. There was a time when I was really worried and afraid that I was going to die, because I was so unhealthy. I could not even walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath. I was truly and frighteningly, unwell. I was on my own, and I was debilitated. I felt old and tired, and I could see the grave rapidly approaching. My body had become an entombment of fat covering the pain and loneliness of a broken heart and spirit. Hope and life seemed very distant.
But there was something still in me; a dream I had always dreamt of living a beautiful life. I had a calling in my heart; a great calling for a great work. But, to carry out my calling I would need strength and vitality, both things that seemed so far away. I longed to be free of the bodily pain, stiffness and decrepitude. I could remember what it felt like when I was young; feeling so healthy and free with youthful power rushing through me. I wanted that joyous, youthful vigor back. One of the first steps to achieving wellness for me was learning humility. To abuse the gift of life and one’s own precious body is a form of extreme arrogance and self-hatred. So one of the keys for me was reacquainting myself with the beautiful gifts that exist, for those who have respect, gratitude and appreciation for all that is available to heal and sustain our bodies. I also made a very deliberate decision that I wanted to live life with health and vigor. I decided I wanted the energy and vitality to do and experience all of the wondrous things in life that are available to all people. I wanted the strength and stamina to lead a life of activity, exploration and true excellence. Ultimately it came down to me deciding whether I wanted to advance toward the grave in a state of decrepit stupor, or rise and advance in life as a fresh, vital being, full of youthful energy and joy.
In my quest for understanding, I realized something very important one day. That the human body is an unfathomable and miraculous microcosm of divine order. The intelligence, complexity and order of even a single cell rivals that of a large modern city. Our bodies love us! Just think about it. The universe within – your trillions of cells all cooperate in a grand orchestration to serve and heal you. Your cells work around the clock in total unison and harmony cleaning, repairing, restoring and nourishing your entire physical being. Every person’s body wants nothing more than to cooperate with them in achieving optimal health. But I realized that I was at “war” with my “own” body. I was waging a terrible war of violence against my body by bombarding it with stress, toxic environments, lack of sleep, and the most terrible and dreadful toxic foods known to man, otherwise known as, the modern American diet and lifestyle. When you are obese, you are chronically diseased, and you are moving toward the grave at a rapid pace. My body had become completely addicted to heavy greases, oils, animal fats, highly refined carbohydrates, sugars, salts and an endless array of toxic chemicals. All of these self-inflicted bodily assaults kept my body’s own rescue and repair mechanisms overloaded and unable to keep up with my deteriorating state.
Even through my pain I worked toward my heart’s highest calling to be an instrument of healing for the world, but little did I know, that those whispers were really calling for my own healing. As destiny would have it, I found myself catapulted onto the world stage, and was given a rare opportunity to be a voice of reason and peace for the voiceless. However, with the opportunity came a humbling lesson. I was advocating for world peace, but I was waging a violent war against my own body. I was speaking about poverty and starvation, but I was eating more than my fair share. I was a hypocrite. This epiphany laid open my pride to the providence of self-love as I invoked the sage wisdom of Gandhi to become the change that I wanted to see in the world.
I discovered that simply by getting out of my own body’s way, and letting it do its job, and cooperating with my body, IT would heal itself from the dreadfully debilitating sickness of obesity. To lose weight I did very little outside of gentle and peaceful cooperation with the inherent wisdom and intelligence of my own body. Through meditation and gentle cooperation, the body will heal itself with little or no effort. When we are at peace with ourselves the total expression of that true peace includes our outer being; our body. Losing weight and being healthy can be so simple and easy. Your goal should never be weight-loss, but rather to have true health and respect for the gift of life.
I know intimately the deep struggles and perseverance it takes to reclaim your health, because I have been there. This is not theoretical for me. I have personally lost over 100 lbs (45.3 kgs), keeping it off for six years, and shrank my waist from a size 48/50″ to 30″. I freed myself from all medications and healed myself of all my dis-eases: extreme obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, borderline diabetes, bad cholesterol, extreme acid reflux, candida, stiffness, glaucoma, arthritis, bursitis, knee and joint pain, gout, angina, insomnia, breathlessness, fatigue, chronic back problems, post nasal drip and sleep apnea. I believe I have extended my life by decades, reversing my heart condition, and clearing my arteries. I healed myself with totally natural methods, and I now have the energy, vitality, stamina and flexibility of a healthy twenty-year-old.
Your bodily vehicle is a sacred vessel that carries your consciousness. Be good to your body. Your well-being is the platform from which you serve others. Your personal health is your greatest possession; the most significant foundation of any future you will have. Make your body your prized possession above all physical things. Spare no expense, re-prioritize and invest in your health. Your health is a long-range investment that will pay-off when you need it most. What one person can do, another can do. You can reclaim your life and get back on track to becoming your full potential. It is never too late to love yourself again. Don’t give up. You can accomplish almost anything if you really want it. Start educating yourself and learn how to take proper care of yourself through self-love. The unification of the mind, spirit and body is the triad of focus that gives one the clarity and resolve to deliver. I have used these, and many other techniques to completely transform my body and my life. My strength, vitality, and health are important parts of my secret to how I live a life of activity, exploration, and creative excellence. And now, it’s your turn! The saddest thing in the world is a person who has given up on life; whose fire has been extinguished. Just remember that as long as you are alive the animating spark of greatness is still within you and can be rekindled. It’s never too late! As long as there is life there is hope. Reclaim your health, body, spirit, and mind!
Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere, and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost!
We know God ordered Jesus’ steps, but He also ordered Judas’ steps. Without Judas betraying Jesus, we wouldn’t have salvation. Without Goliath coming against David, David would have never taken the throne. When things run out in your life, instead of complaining, being bitter, keep the right perspective. It had to run out so you can see the best, so you can step up to who you were created to be!
Throughout the ages, many wise people have said this same thing in differing ways, that you need to accept your experiences, both the good and bad, and move forward. The truth is you don’t need to choose to accept anything because you don’t have a choice. You are moving forward one way or another. This life is like a roller-coaster; once you are strapped-in and the ride has started, you aren’t getting off. Now you can wail and thrash about in a panic, which is no fun at all, or you can just put your hands in the air and give-in to what will surely be a ride of surprising turns, twists, climbs and falls. Just remember how lucky you are to have a ticket and try to enjoy the ride!
God’s unconditional love ensures your life is joyfully resilient through any experience!
Jesus said in Matthew 5, “You are blessed when you’re at the end of your rope.
With less of you, there is more of God and His favor”.
We’re blessed when we’re at the end.
When you’ve run out of options, that’s when God shows up and gives you the best.
That’s when He does more than you can imagine!
The prayer of a humble and loving soul disarms the anger of My Father and draws down an ocean of blessings
People say that we are fortunate just because of the people we have in our lives, yet they have no idea just how much we prayed. And for that, we say we are not lucky BUT WE ARE BLESSED”
Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us”
Do good to those who hate you.
Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you”
Lord, Let me be a blessing to someone today,
Even if it’s in the littlest way.
Let your light shine through me and bring some type of happiness to someone’s life”
Be happy when God answers your prayer but be happier when you are an answer to others prayers”
When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them, so when you are safe and happy, remember that someone is praying for you”
The value of a single smile should not be a ton of sorrows.
So, please God bless the earth with love and affection”
When my arms can’t reach people who are close to my heart, I always hug them with my prayers.
May God grant you, what your heart desires and keep you happy”
When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them, and sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.
Life is full of blessings! Convey Gratitude for all the good things in life”
The prayer of a humble and loving soul disarms the anger of My Father and draws down an ocean of blessings”
Don’t think of the things you didn’t get after praying.
Think of the countless blessings God gave without you asking him. “
When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them, and sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you. Life is full of blessings! Express Gratitude for all the good things in life”
This world came as a bewildered land
With one man
and one woman
Then tribes formed and life began
Don’t you see what God has gifted you?
With the enlightenment, came the rays of life
The clarification of living,
the way of receiving
You are the “one ” who has taught me to dwell within the love of God
Whenever you fall asleep weeping quietly in your pillow
Know that God is always there to listen to all your cries
No matter how vicious the people are or how lonely the night seems
God is always listening to you and always sees
Do not question if your blessings are coming
Because all of them are surely on their way
God never forgets about his decent men and their deeds
Especially those who return after going wayward my mother says
From the mouth of babies
“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive”
Lord Jesus Christ Matt 21:22
“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving”
Apostle Paul Colossians 4:2
“Pray like you’ve never prayed before. Pray like you were dying, like it’s your last minute”
William Branham 63-0605
“God does nothing except in answer to Prayer”
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing”
In Mark 6, we are told three times that Jesus spent an entire day teaching thousands of people in “a desert place”. Late in the day, His disciples said, “There’s nothing to eat in this desert place. Send the people home”. But Jesus answered, “You feed them”. They said, “With what”? Jesus asked them for what they had, and they gave Him five loaves of bread and two fish. Then Jesus directed them to have the crowd sit down in groups “on the green grass”. While the people were tired and hungry, and before Jesus multiplied the food miraculously, God gave them grass in the desert. He made the hard place easier for them. He didn’t stop them from going into the desert or keep them from the heat, but He lightened the load.
We all go through desert places in life-problems that should overwhelm us, giants that should defeat us, bad breaks that should make us bitter. But somehow in the midst of these challenges, there’s a force sustaining us. We feel strength that we didn’t have, courage to keep moving forward, grace to endure. We look back and think, “How did I make it through that loss, that sickness, that difficulty”? It was God giving you grass in the desert, God making the hard places easier. Without His grace, you would have gone under. Without His favor, that sickness would have defeated you. Without Him breathing in your direction, you wouldn’t have made it through that breakup. He didn’t stop the trouble, but He kept the trouble from stopping you.
I spoke to a friend who was in his sixties when he found out that he was going to have to raise three of her grandchildren, all who were under the age of seven. He didn’t know how she could possibly do it. I told her what I’m telling you: “You may be in a desert place, facing something that you weren’t expecting, but it’s not a surprise to God. He has a green pasture that He’s already ordained for you. It’s going to be easier than you think”. Years later, he told me that raising those children was the most rewarding, fulfilling thing she’s ever done. He said, “It’s been so much easier than I thought. I never dreamed I’d have this much strength to be able to get so much done”.
You can flourish in the desert. Right now God is creating grass in your desert place. You can prosper in a pandemic, and you can succeed in a down year. Now don’t talk yourself out of it. The Most High God is on your side. He’s going to make those hard places easier than you think. You will blossom in the desert places!
People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.
But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.
Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes.
All is a miracle!
The scripture says, “Let the weak say I am strong”. You may not feel strong, but when you say, “I am strong”, you’re moving toward strength.
You may be fighting an illness, but when you say, “I am healthy”, you’re moving toward health.
Perhaps you feel stuck in your career; it seems like you’ve reached your limits.
But when you say, “New doors are about to open; something good is going to happen to me.
God is taking me from glory to glory”. You’re moving toward new levels, favour, something that you’ve never seen!