This morning we read the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree from the Gospel of Luke. A story of aman who had a tree planted. He came looking for fruit. He came looking for three years. Every year that he came looking the tree was barren. He could look no more. It was time for the tree to go.
The story tells us nothing of what this man might have done to nurture and cultivate the fruit he was so desperately looking for. He is frustrated and angry, “Cut it down!” But the gardener knows there is still hope in this tree. In order for fruit to come attention must be paid, time and resources devoted to healthy growth.
The gardener knows that looking is not tending. Sometimes we look for growth in our own lives and find ourselves frustrated when we do not see what we are looking for. This parable invites us to go beyond looking. To engage in the work of nurturing and cultivating. Bearing fruit requires tending. One cannot simply plant a tree and expect fruit. There is watering, feeding, pruning, and pollenating that must happen before there might be harvesting to be done.