Jesus shares a parable in Luke 13:6-9 that beautifully shows the relationship between privilege and responsibility. The story concerns a certain fig tree that was privileged enough to be planted in a vineyard. Being in the vineyard, the tree enjoyed special care and protection that was not usually given to fig trees. However, in spite of the special care and nourishment the tree received, it gave no fruit! Not only was the tree useless (for fruit), but it actually was a hindrance to the rest of the vineyard. It took up space that a good and fruitful tree could be using and took nutrients from the ground without giving anything back in return! Imagine how you would feel if you were the owner of such a fruitless tree. How would you feel about a lamp in your house that used $50.00 worth of electricity each month but gave no light? Would you leave it plugged in? How long would you pay for such a useless thing?
By being fruitless, the fig tree invited its own destruction. The owner of the vineyard wanted the tree cut down, but the vinedresser persuaded the owner to be patient and give the tree one more chance to produce. If the tree failed to provide fruit during the last chance season, then the owner’s patience would be exhausted and the tree would be removed!
What do you suppose Jesus was telling us in this parable? Are we blessed? Has God “planted” us in the favorable conditions of His vineyard? If so, are we bearing fruit as we should?
God is patient, but there is an end to His patience! If we enjoy His special favor within the church, then we have the responsibility to bear fruit to His glory!
John 15:1-8 “I am the vine and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and, every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up and they gather them and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” – Joe Winnett, Minister