Verse 8 “Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.”
Now that we know a little more about this fig tree in the vineyard we need to look at the gardener for a little bit.
Our gardener is an important man. He was the specialist, hired to care for the grapes that this tree was hindering. He knew it wasn’t necessary to keep the tree and yet it could be foolish to destroy it. Maybe he knew that the owner had been the one to plant it. He asks for one year to try to improve the tree. What did it matter to him if the tree was there or not? It didn’t matter to him but the master did. The gardener didn’t have a personal attachment to the tree, nor was our gardener a tree-hugger. No, our man was a loyal worker, who was willing to go the extra mile for his boss.
The gardener says he will give it special attention and fertilizer. What exactly does special attention and fertilizing entail? Our text says that the gardener was going to dig around it and then fertilize it. Though this may not be true with all plants, it is suggested when planting a fig tree that you don’t fertilize it for the first 3 months so that the root system will push out looking for the nutrients it needs. If they already have been given everything they need why would they grow their roots which are more than just their way of eating what they need, the underground system is their stability, their way of being able to stand firm in a storm. The roots are the only things keeping the tree alive.
The gardener knew he needed a closer look at what was under the surface so he knew what he was up against and if it was really going to be possible. He also needed to know what kind of fertilizer was needed.
We often measure the health of a plant by what the leaves look like and forget that the health of a tree really lies in its roots. The same is true for people. We think that they are nice and helpful but we don’t know if they are living like that because of healthy roots or because they are fake “plants”. We become so concerned with what we see that we miss digging deeper into friendship. Furthermore we try to make sure that leaves look good so that others will think we are doing well. But the Gardener knows the truth of our roots (our heart) and He is willing to do the dirty work of fertilizing our lives if we are willing to let Him probe around in our lives.
Making It Personal
What do you think your spiritual root system looks? What would God say about your root system? From what source do you get your nutrients?
Making It Personal Kids
Have you ever tried growing something? Is it hard not seeing the roots of your plant? What does it mean to grow roots deep into Jesus?
Father, thank You for helping us to grow. Teach us the way You want us to live. Thank Father, we love You. In Jesus’ name, amen.