Lenten Reader | Day 14


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
My wife has a house plant that is very special to her. It was a gift to her from her co-workers on the occasion of her grandfather’s funeral. The plant reminds her both of her grandfather and of her friends who showed her kindness at a difficult time in her life. Very special indeed!
It sat in a prominent place in our living room for quite a long time, but after several years it started dying. By the time we moved to Spain, we had all but given up on it, so we shipped it off to my parents’ house to be kept for us – mostly because my mom liked its pot. The plant itself was too far gone to be of any value.

But much to our surprise, the plant made a dramatic turnaround. On our first visit back to the US, we found the plant thriving – almost outgrowing its pot. It was a source of great joy for my wife because of what that plant means her.

That kind of turnaround is the “fruit” that God is looking for his people to bear. It’s repentance. That’s the context of this parable – Jesus’ call for his people to repent. Repentance is turning around and going the other direction. It’s turning away from bad decisions, toxic attitudes, and other sins that keep us from God. It’s turning from the idols of money, comfort, relationships, and anything else that we worship in God’s place. Repentance means turning away from those things and running back to a gracious, loving God who wants us to thrive. And it gives him great joy!

Lent is the season of repentance. May we allow the Holy Spirit to search us and find the places where we need to turn around and come back to God. He’s patient and slow to anger. He extends us grace year after year. Let’s bear him the fruit of repentance.

-Erik Allsop