How many times do you think fig trees are mentioned in the Bible? I counted 39+. What do we know about fig trees? We know it takes three years for a fig tree to mature and produce fruit. We know fig trees do not like their roots disturbed. And we know fig trees require little care. So, why is it important to know these thing about a fig tree? I’ll offer a few reasons.
In the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Lent, Jesus tells the parable of the barren fig tree. Someone planted a fig tree and after three years came to get a fig. The tree had no figs. so he told his groundskeeper to cut the tree down since it wasn’t producing figs and was exhausting the soil. The groundskeeper pleaded for one more year and said he would give the tree whatever it needed to produce good figs.
In this parable, are you the groundskeeper or are you the fig tree? If you choose to be the groundskeeper, then you will do all in your power to allow another to grow and produce delicious fruit. You might provide instruction, nourishment and support to encourage the other person to grow to his/her full potential.
If you choose to be the fig tree, then you will do all in your power to grow and produce good fruit. You would allow God, your friends and family to nurture your growth by accepting instruction, nourishment and support as you develop and produce delicious fruit for the Lord.
So, consider your role: At what times in your life are you the groundskeeper? At what times in your life are you the fig tree?
Evangeline Salazar, OSB