Sunday, March 7, 2010
Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, 'See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?' He replied, 'Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'" Luke 13:6-9
A good gardener, no matter whether they have a huge farm or a small city garden, knows the value of manure. It feeds the soil and the plants and can bring life back to a life back to a parched and damaged patch of ground. The nutrients it provides are the building blocks of life. Our food production depends on it. But manure is not pretty or glamorous. It isn't prize winning. Manure is often odoriferous and offensive to some. And yet, it is exactly what we need in order to build up a garden and have that garden produce. Sometimes, the treatments for healing and thriving are difficult, but the results can be amazing.
Jesus tells a parable of the fig tree. The owner is ready to cut it down but the gardener wants to dig around it, cut it back and scatter manure around it. He knows there are ways to bring back life and abundance - even if these ways are hard for some people to take. We all have to be pruned and manured from time to time.
Today, I want to rejoice in the knowledge that Christ is willing to be our gardener - willing to get hands dirty, stand in the steaming manure, in order that we might thrive again. God knows we are all struggling to be productive and useful. And God is willing to go the extra mile for us all. May we all rejoice this day in the great loving gardener, who is willing and ready to renew our lives and make us whole and productive for days to come.