Lent Devotional: Luke 13:6-9
by Jonathan Haefs
Luke 13:6-9 (click here)
And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.  And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’  And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure.  Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” (Luke 13:6-9)
“I’ll give you one more chance!”
I cannot count the number of times I heard those words as a child… or the number of times I have said them to my own children… and why? Typically in those situations, no one deserves “one more chance.” Some rule has already been violated and there is a known consequence that should be applied immediately… yet “one more chance” is given… why?
Kindness… gracious kindness.
Even though I did not recognize it at the time… whenever my parents gave me “one more chance” it was not because I deserved it, but because they were being graciously kind… AND their kindness had a purpose… it was meant to lead me to repentance.
While we were still lost in our sin… God showed us this type of gracious kindness every single day… every single moment!
God would be completely right and just to pour out his judgment upon the world at any moment, but like the vinedresser of Luke 13… he gives the vine (us) more time. Not only that, his kindness goes further! Just like the vinedresser tills the earth and puts fertilizer around the fig tree of Luke 13, so also the Lord providentially brings people into our lives to point us toward the good news of the Gospel.
This is all God’s gracious kindness… for what we deserve is judgment… AND there is a purpose to his kindness… it is meant to lead us to repentance.
Romans 2:4-5, “…do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”
There is a day coming when God’s wrath will be revealed. Just like the fig tree has a day coming when it will bear fruit or be cut down… but right now, every day and every moment we are given is a moment we live in the gracious kindness of God.
May that kindness always lead us back to him!