The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
Dear Digger Doug,
What lessons can we learn from the parable of the barren fig tree?
Only Luke recorded Jesus’ parable of the barren fig tree (Luke 13:6-9). In this parable, a man decided to cut down a fig tree in his vineyard because it had not produced any figs in three years. However, the worker in charge of the vineyard asked for another year of life for the tree, because he wished to fertilize it and take special care of it. If, after the year, the fig tree still had no fruit, the keeper of the vineyard would cut down the tree.
Jesus was trying to teach the people several lessons with this parable. First, Jesus was teaching them that God (Who was the Owner of the vineyard) expects every single person (the “trees”) to “bear fruit.” In other words, God wants all of us to live as Christians and teach more people about the Bible and the good news of Jesus. If we do not bear fruit, then He will have to cut us from His vineyard. However, if we repent and begin bearing fruit (living as Christians), then God will keep us in His vineyard. This parable also teaches us that God is willing to give us a second chance, and sometimes even a third or fourth. But everyone must know that, eventually, God will act on our refusal to live as Christians. So, the choice is ours. We can either be people who “bear fruit,” or we can be like the barren fig tree, and be in danger of being chopped down. The question you must ask is: “Which am I?”