A Year of Grace

 A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it.     Luke 13:6

There are under three weeks left in this calendar year. What type of year has it been for you? Good or not so good? Or perhaps an “annus horribilis,” as Queen Elizabeth II called 1992? Have you been fruitful for the Lord this year?  

Two people participate in today’s parable of the Barren Fig Tree—the owner of the vineyard and the caretaker. Initially, when the owner came upon the tree, he denounced it for producing no fruit in the three years since it was planted and ordered it cut down and burned. Why should it take up space, water, and resources if it is fruitless? The owner reconsiders after the caregiver advocates for one year of cultivation. It would be a year of nurturing, one in which the caretaker would pay special attention to the needs of the tree, which might make it fruitful at last. A year of grace was given to the tree… more implicitly, to the caretaker who was determined to give it all the attention he could. 

As you consider whether or not you have been fruitful in the Lord the year, thank Him for the areas He has shown you grace and ask Him to reveal where you could use cultivating. God is both the owner and the caretaker, apart from Him, you can do nothing. It is His Spirit that bears fruit in and through you. Your part is to seek Him in prayer, to drink the “water“ of the Word, and to be nourished by His tender loving care and faithfulness toward you.  

Consider the admonition the Lord gave His disciples in Matthew 9:37-38, “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” 

Today’s Verse: Luke 13:6

And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 

All Scripture quotations and audio are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Recommended for further reading: Galatians 5:18-25

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 

All Scripture quotations and audio are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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