Matthew 3:10 – “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” NASU
Luke 13:6-9 – “And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. 7 “And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ 8 “And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; 9 and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'” NASU
Let’s pick up where we left off yesterday in considering the Fig or Fruit Tree and consider another thought regarding this tree and something for us to consider regarding our own individual lives.
CONSIDER THE MASTER’S COMPLAINT…
In Luke 13:7 we find that he had been seeking fruit for three years on this tree. That’s a reasonable time when it comes to fruit trees. In the statement of verse seven, we find several thoughts that bear examining.
The master demonstrates incredible patience. Three years in a fruit orchard is costly and shows incredible restraint on the part of the master and keeper of the orchard. That reminds me of the words of Peter in 2 Peter 3:9: “He is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish.” I would contend that the use of three years suggests a three-fold repeated failure on the part of the tree. Even in that light, there is no judgment and it is given another chance. Grace has been extended.
I can only imagine how much the heart of our Lord is grieved when He comes to our lives for fruit and finds barrenness. I can only imagine how His heart is grieved if He comes to us and finds the gifts and blessings He has bestowed on us have been hidden or used on ourselves rather than producing fruit in others and the kingdom. God is seeking fruit in our lives and He has made provision to enable us to bear fruit. How long have you been in God’s orchard? Are you a receiver only, drinking up the sap and sunshine of His gifts and grace but producing nothing for the kingdom? Are you a Fruit bearer or Firewood?
A second thing I note in His words is the reality that His patience is being tested. “Cut it down” is an arresting statement. None of us wants our tree cut down in the prime of life. None of us wants to face eternity having been deemed to be a non-bearing stick of firewood. We want to be vessels and instruments He can us and we want to bear fruit for Him.
In Proverbs 13:12 we find a truth that we could apply to this situation, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Yes, it is talking about us but how about applying that to how God feels when He hopes for us to become what He has designed, and we continue to resist or misdirect His gifts and blessings?
Something that is very important to grasp is that the Trees in the Orchard of God are judged by their works, those outside by their nature. Our natures have been transformed so now it is time to couple our faith and grace with our actions and bear fruit. Fruit-bearing constitutes the only title we have to continue in the orchard. (James 2:24). In life and in God, we find that Privileges abused are Privileges lost. Remember the talents. The one that hid the money lost it and suffered because of the inaction. God is looking for more than a profession of our faith and belief that He is, He wants us to Bear Fruit
The third statement or question brings an unmistakable and unavoidable reality of the seriousness of this situation. “Why does it even use up the ground?” It is a waste of space would be another way of saying it. In the KJV it says, “why cumbereth it the ground?” Like one preacher said, “God won’t always allow cumberers to occupy His orchard.” Every fruitless tree is in danger of being a ‘cumberer’ and demands the question, “Why allow it to remain?”
We cannot defend fruitlessness in our lives. When someone eats the food, enjoys the housing, rides in the car, but produces nothing and contributes nothing we call them free-loaders. The danger of free-loaders is they, like leaven, tend to taint the thinking of the producers. In this case, the fruitless tree’s roots become entangled with the roots of the fruit-bearing and hinder them, stealing their nourishment. The barren branches block out the sunshine from the fruit-bearing trees and hinder them.
The inconsistencies of professing Christians are a negative testimony to those who are on the outside looking in. God help us to become fruit bearers, not firewood. I will pause one more time and pick this up again tomorrow. Hoping to encourage you to bear fruit and to the reality that you can bear fruit.
God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!