Cut for Growth
Verse 9 “If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.”
We have come to our last day in this vineyard. We have learned quite a bit in our delving into the fig tree and its neighboring grapevines. Today we look at the final words in the parable, “then cut it down.”
We tend to shy away from things that hurt, no matter if that is physical or emotional pain. But can’t pain be beneficial? Doesn’t it tell us there is a problem? And what about the pain that helps us heal? If we had a leg that was full of poison and that would kill us if not cut off, wouldn’t we want to have it removed?
In an orchard or vineyard the plants need pruning to keep things growing strong. If you don’t prune grapes yearly you can end up with too much foliage that keeps the vines from getting the amount of sun that they need. A fig tree can grow to 15-20 feet if you don’t keep them pruned. If they are kept to the ideal height of under 7 feet, they will grow better fruit and fill out better as their energy isn’t being spent putting out new growth.
Sometimes the reason pruning needs to happen is because some sort of ailment or bug is in the wood that will eventually kill the tree. It usually starts as a tiny, unnoticeable hole in the bark but left unchecked will end up getting into the inner portion of the branch and end up in the core of the tree and destroy it from the inside out. The sin in our life is just like that bug. It starts out super small and we don’t think it is too big a deal. But that poison will eventually be eating us to our core and we won’t realize the problem has grown. We should want the poison of sin cut from our lives as well. Maybe the reason we aren’t so eager for that kind of surgery is that we don’t see sin as a death sentence. It is so easy to see sin as a part of life and we go on like it isn’t an issue. But it should be, it is a poison and we need to stop acting like it isn’t.
Remember that the tree can’t prune itself. Just as we don’t need to depend on others to water and fertilize us, we need to be open to the pruning shears of truth in our lives. Sometimes those shears will be held in the Word of God and sometimes they will be held by friends. Accepting pruning is vital to our spiritual health. And if pruning doesn’t work then the item may not deserve to be in the vineyard.
Making It Personal
What sin have you allowed to dig deep into your life? How could you have someone help you prune it out of your life? Do you have a friend that you know needs help pruning some sin out of their life? Go to them and offer to help.
Making It Personal Kids
Why is sin bad? How can we get sin out of our life? Who can you ask to help you get out of a sin problem in your life?
Father, thank You for putting a plan in place to help us deal with sin in our lives. Help us be humble to accept the correction of Your Word or a friend. Help us see sin as You see it, with pure hate. In Jesus’ name, amen.