The Pointing Fingers and the Fig Tree
By Linda Hamby Thorn
As I tend to do, I got my bible out and asked the Lord where he wanted me to read at that moment. After a short read in the old testament, I found myself reading Luke 13. “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them–do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
I don’t recall ever reading this before, so (as I tend to do), I asked Holy Spirit what this means and this is what I got:
Jesus is teaching that we must be careful when it comes to judgment by outward appearances. Just because a brother or sister is obviously suffering through consequences from their sins, don’t think for one minute that their sins are any worse than your own. It could be that you just haven’t crossed that bridge yet! Instead, we are best served by getting down on our knees and praying for that brother or sister and their loved ones (who always suffer too, usually out of no fault of their own), and then praying for our own souls! As John Bradford said, “But for the grace of God, go I.”* We all have the fleshly tendency to want to do the very things we are not supposed to do and also do not want to do the very things we should do, every single human being on earth, no matter how far we’ve come from where we once were, we are not “there” just yet. (Romans 7:14-25)
The bible I was reading from that day has the subtitle of Luke 13, verses 1-9 as “Jesus Call the People to Repent.“ Immediately following this, Jesus tells the parable of the Fig Tree (though I found it interesting that it was not subtitled at all in this bible):
Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down. Why should I use up the soil?’ ‘Sir, the man replied, “leave it alone one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
I then turned the page to read the rest of the parable, only to find this was it! There was no “rest of the story!” It reminded me of some movies or books, where there really is no ending, just a gapping question of “WELL?! WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?!” But I know God doesn’t do anything without a reason, so, again I enquired of Holy Spirit and this is what I got:
The end of the story depends on the Fig Tree. Each person who finds themselves without producing fruit for a substantial period of time will deserve to be cut down, but the vineyard Keeper (Jesus) begs for more time from the Father. However, there does come a point when one could find themselves cut down and put in the fire, so don’t be too content to just take that first step in asking Jesus into your heart and then walking away to do your own thing! Oh, he WILL pursue you! He WILL “dig a trench” around you, cutting you off from outside influences, closing doors, ending unhealthy relationships, turning what seemed sweet into sourness. He WILL put up blockages, take things and people away, to the point that you HAVE to either curse God or turn to Him!!!
Then it dawns on me, THAT is the reason why there is no distinction between verses 1-5 and verses 6-10! The first is a true, life example of people they’ve seen suffer because of their sins and the second is a parable, but both instances end with a “call to repent”.
I’m so thankful that our God is such a loving and generous God, that Jesus is the Vineyard Keeper of our souls, and that he goes the extra mile to help us produce fruit! And just in case you aren’t sure what “fruit” the bible is talking about, here it is for you:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.…” Galatians 5:22-23
And here is what good fruit ISN’T:
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians :19-21
The Word of God very clear on what choices of behavior WILL NOT INHERIT the Kingdom of God! If your reaction is “Ouch!” then I highly encourage you, no I DARE YOU to humble yourself (wherever you are) and repent right this very moment! Ask God to make a way out where there seems to be no way out, then do what you CAN do (or stop doing what you know you should not be doing) and see what happens. He will hear you, he will help you. It may not be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is, and you will not be alone! Jesus said he would never leave your nor forsake you and HE doesn’t lie. If you’re not plugged in to a church, get plugged in! Don’t be so picky, don’t point fingers, and don’t be judgmental, finding a body of Christ is not about them having the right music (it’s to praise GOD, not to entertain YOU), the right building, the perfect preacher, teacher, greeter, etc. It’s just about you obeying God. So long as they preach and teach from the Word of God, the Holy Bible, that’s all that matters right now. God may have you at one church for a season or for the rest of your life, don’t worry about that right now. Just ask God to lead you to the right church, get plugged in and start with repenting and turning away from your sin.
And pray; pray for yourself, for your neighbor, and pray for me! Now, go, do and be the light you were created to be!