Devotional Readings

Still More Time

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38, 39.

A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?” (Luke 13:6, 7).

The owner of the vineyard says, “This tree is filling the place that a useful tree might occupy.” When a tree has lots of foliage but no fruit, the first tendency could be, “Let it alone–it’s not doing any damage.” But, according to this parable, it is doing damage, because it’s robbing the world of the blessing of another tree that might bring forth fruit. It misrepresents God in the world, and is not merely useless but a hindrance.

In the climax to this story, when the drama seems particularly tense and you wonder whether the tree is going to be cut down or not, there is this argument from the dresser. He does not argue that the master’s statement isn’t true. It is true, and he admits it, but he says, “Let it alone this year. Give it a little more time till I shall dig about it and dress it.”

God and Jesus are together here, the Father and Son, in unity of purpose, and this is a dialogue between them. “Shall we cut it down? Shall we?” And they say, “No, we will not cut it down. Instead, we’ll let it alone this year. We’ll try something else. We’ll give it more advantage.”

Listen, friend. Do you feel that you’ve about gone the limit and that all you deserve is to be cut down? Here you have the evidence of God’s judgment concerning you in His day of mercy and grace. “Let it alone. Give that young person, give that older person who has bartered away God’s grace for years–give him another year. And then another one after that, and then another.”

Man cuts off quicker than God does. What a God we serve! He doesn’t treat us as human beings treat one another, but continues to offer His mercy and His love.

from Faith that Works
Morris Venden | Review & Herald (2000)
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