Do you ever have days when you just don’t feel like doing anything? I think that’s okay as long as they are balanced with days where you are all fired up to do something great too. I know that I always feel better at the end of a day when I’ve accomplished something, and preferably several things. Just like the fig tree in Luke 13:6-9, we are meant to be productive.
The fig tree in this parable was planted in a vineyard. That means that it was in a place where it would be tended by a viticulturist—the gardener. It received better care than most fig trees, so one would expect it to be healthy and fruitful. In the same way, we are cared for by God, given His grace, blessings and power. Philippians 4:13 tells us that we can do all things through Christ’s strength. We, however, have to act; we need to make use of that power.
When the owner of the fig tree saw that the tree was still not providing any fruit after three years, he decided it was time to get rid of it. The gardener asked for a reprieve, for one more chance, and he would work even harder to help that fig tree. We serve a God of second chances, a God of mercy. We often get another chance just as that fig tree did. In the same way that the gardener interceded for that tree, Christ and the Holy Spirit (and often friends and family) are interceding for us. (Romans 8:34, Romans 8:26) But the chances won’t last forever. At some point we need to make a decision about whom we will serve; if we choose not to serve God, we will be cut off from Him.
And it will be God who decides. The gardener was the one who asked for the reprieve, and he was the one who would do the extra work to try to make the tree more fruitful, but in the end it would be the owner of the tree who would cut it down. We are not the judges who will determine each other’s fate; God is.