“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 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 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 13:6-9, NIV)
This parable might seem a little confusing if you don’t know the context. Take a minute to think about what has been happening to Jesus on His way to Jerusalem.
At the beginning of this journey to Jerusalem, right after Peter identified Jesus as “the Christ of God”, Jesus told his disciples, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Luke 9:22, ESV)
Already James and John, the “Sons of Thunder,” have offered to meet resistance to Jesus with violence, but in this parable Jesus shows a better way to relate to a lost world that doesn’t know its need for God: wait and give God time to work.
“We are not warriors, but artists… after the fashion of Jesus Christ who came not to condemn… but to build life up to the image of God.” - George Adam Smith. Our patience can be a great witness to God’s salvation, which Jesus accomplished through his life, death, and resurrection.
Key to helping us interpreting this parable is 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (ESV)
Take some time to reflect on areas of your life where God has been at work, helping you grow and change...even if it’s been a slow grow or taken a long time, celebrate it!
Choose an activity from the list below (or come up with one of your own) to demonstrate the point of a SECOND CHANCE.
1. Play a trivia game where child would be allowed a second guess if they give a wrong answer.
2. Try to thread a needle and give them a second chance using a needle threader or a needle with a larger eye.
3. Try to quote a Bible verse and give them a second chance with some helpful prompts.
4. Say the books of the Old Testament or the New Testament in 15 seconds or less and give them a second chance with some help or elongated time.
5. Try to toss a coin into a far away cup, give a second chance if they miss.
6. Toss a ring and try to circle a bottle or a peg, give them a second chance if they miss.
Talk about what you learned about yourself and the difference between the first try and second chance. Now relate it to how God gives us second chances...and ways you can give someone else a second chance as well.
Dear Father, we are thankful that even though we don't always produce the kind of fruit that you desire, you give us a second chance. Help us to allow Jesus to work in our lives so that we will produce the kind of fruit that you want from us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.