Wednesday, November 17, 2010
THE PARABLE OF THE BARREN FIG TREE
My darkest fear had finally become a reality! And the lightning and thunderstorm outside made it worse. My mom warned me beforehand that I would live to regret it. That day, regret was more than an understatement. I had ruined my life.
When my dad was very ill, he began to manoeuvre the directors to have me helm his company. Suspecting my constant indifference towards business, they fought against the idea. Finally they gave up and in I went. As a loving traditional father, he hoped what he had strived for would be carried on by his son. But it was not to be. Instead, it was a disaster just waiting to happen.
I remembered how I sat at his desk just a week after his funeral. It was an indescribable feeling. The aspiration to take over finally came. But I had an agenda. A wicked agenda that was. Every one that stood in my way was either fired or transferred out! Many advices were torn asunder and thrown aside! Including my mom’s!
I started to bully smaller companies and forced them to close down. They cursed me to bits but I cared not a bit! In my mind I thought those were worthless companies! Many people suffered under my destructive ideas! Although I felt like a champion but deep inside there would always be a tinge of fear for consequences. Months passed and those fears intensified. The board of directors dropped hints whenever we met. The loudest was my mom who outright warned me that my sins would catch up with me, just a matter of time.
Just a year only I took over the company, the profit plunged and overheads increased tremendously. I knew somehow something was not right but I was too lazy to do anything about it. I trusted “my” people to monitor everything for me while I went about living out my promiscuous life.
That night changed everything. Few men accosted me outside the bar and hit me real bad. Stabbed and battered, I lied unconscious on the dirt road next to the rubbish dump. Before I collapsed, I still remembered that in my mind, I told myself, ‘This is it! This is it!’
Lying in the hospital bed at this moment, tubes everywhere in me, I remembered my mom’s warning, “Just a matter of time!”
The parable of the barren fig tree is only found in Luke 13:6-9.
When Jesus tells this parable, He is responding to some self-righteous people who think that those who had suffered and died violently deserve it (v1). They reason that God has judged them is because they had sinned greatly. Or simply they are Gentiles and are not chosen people of God. Remember, Luke writes to everyone regardless of status and creed, souls as loved by Jesus, the Saviour of the world. That “holier than thou” mindset is prevalent in Jewish culture. It is dangerous and must be seriously addressed. And Jesus knows that. This kind of thinking will prevent them from accepting God’s grace that He comes to offer the world.
Jesus being radical with His teaching on parables, does not mince His Word. He warns them about the impending wrath. Jesus assumes the role of the prophet of old. Repent or else! And He utters it twice (vv3, 5). Those who think they can escape the wrath of God with their sins must think twice. It is just a matter of time.
No one will escape the judgement of God unless he humbles himself and acknowledges his sins before a righteous God. God does not want anyone to perish! He waits patiently! Jesus tells of giving the fig tree another year after a long wait for the fruit.
On another look at the parable, the owner seems to give enough time for the tree to grow fruit. It is the servant who asks for another year extension. God listens to the prayers of His saints. If not for the prayers of the saints, many people would have perished.
Let us all take this parable as a warning that self-righteous attitude will lead us nowhere but downhill. How many Christians who went through troubles and sickness had received a double whammy when “Holier-than-thou” people whacked them of having been judged by God.
Let us all remain humble at all times and also pray for God to wait longer so that precious souls can repent and be reconciled to God.
Next: Parable of The Lost Piece of Silver Coin