We are well and truly in Lent. Our lectionary takes us through readings that challenge us in our discipleship. But our readings are also an encouragement.
The parable of the fig tree (Luke 13.6-9) tells us the story of a fig tree which despite all efforts and lots of tender loving care by the gardener is not bringing forth fruit.
Fig trees are renown for bringing forth abundant fruit if they have all they need and they don’t need much: decent soil, water and sunshine.
The gardener gives it so much more yet it doesn’t yield any fruit.
The owner if the vineyard wants to give up on it but the gardener insists to give it another chance. The fig tree is given even more tender loving care.
Unless the tree refuses all the good that it is given it will bring forth a great crop of fruit.
All parables Jesus told have something in common: with the help of parables Jesus is trying to teach us what His Father and God’s kingdom is like.
God is our gardener – and we are like the fig tree. God is giving us all we need for abundant life – and more. We should bring forth fruit in abundance as a consequence.
Yet so often we don’t. We choose our own paths above God’s will and set our own desires above God’s.
God is not giving up on us!
As we prepare ourselves for the glorious feast of Easter we are reminded of God’s amazing gift to us: He sent His Son to live and die for us. His love for us is beyond imagination.
This is the amazing truth of the Easter story.
As we are preparing ourselves to celebrate Christ’s resurrection in the time of Lent we are asked to focus on the cross and called to examine our lives and to repent.
People so often struggle with the word “repent”.
Literally to repent means to turn around.
For us to be able and willing to turn around we need to fist acknowledge that we have gone wrong, followed our own path rather than God’s will; we have to be prepared to let go of our wishes and ideas and turn around – walking back to God.
God will welcome us back as many times as we are prepared to return to Him.
If we take in the amazing gift God is giving us, like a fig tree in rich soil, we will bring forth fruit and bring fruit in abundance and grow His kingdom in this world.