The Fruitless Fig Tree

Luke 13: 1-9
Rom 8:1-11 / Psa 24

. . . he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any.
(Luke 13:6)

Repentance is what we all need
Before we can produce good fruit;
Before it’s too late, please take heed,
The axe may be there at your root.

At that time some people who were present there told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered this way they were greater sinners than all the other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, unless you repent, you too will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Then He told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the gardener 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 it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for 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.’” (Luke 13:1-9)

Reflection

For three years, when our mission opened up an outreach in Gen. Santos city, we gave much of our time and energies in going to that South Cotabato city to attend the twice monthly breakfast fellowships as well as the weekly seminars called the Christian Life Programs. These CLPs are held to build up the membership of the community. They run for nine Saturdays, and normally, we would be heading back home with the mission team on the two-hour trip when it was already dark. During those three years, the mission was able to hold five Christian Life Programs which ‘harvested’ a total of 100 new members for the outreach. Half of them are now actively serving the community. When our term as Mission Director couple ended, we no longer went to Gen. Santos city as often as we used to, but whenever we did, to accompany a speaker or attend a special occasion, it never failed to enlighten us to see our brothers and sisters there still full of joy in their new life with the Lord. All of us who are called to go on mission for the Lord experience a vigorous spiritual purpose in our lives. There is a strong feeling that we are at the cutting edge of what Christian renewal is all about.

Many in the community think that attending breakfasts, group meetings and prayer assemblies are enough to be considered active members. But these are just part of the growth and maturity of our commitment. What is the sense in raising a healthy tree if it does not bear fruit? It is better to cut it down than have it using up the fertility of the earth. If we have received a commission from the Lord, and our formation is complete, then it is time to step out and share our new life with others who are still searching for some meaning in their lives. And one does not have to go to far-flung outreaches to serve God and His community. John the Baptist spoke of this earlier in Luke’s Gospel when he said, “Produce good fruits as evidence of your repentance. . . Even now the axe lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Lk.3:8,9).

May we always cling to You, Lord Jesus, our True Vine, for You nourish us with Your Word and make us produce fruit that is pleasing to the Father. Amen.

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