“Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’””
Luke 13:6-9 NLT
When the ax is ready, Jesus steps in and says, let me dig around her roots and poor fertilizer around them. If she doesn't bear fruit for another year, then I'll chop it down.
Jesus works to give us one last chance, but we may fail to recognize it, since from our point of view things will be quite uncomfortable. Who wants their roots disturbed? Who wants soil removed to expose the buried parts of oneself? When that is done, the final step is to apply fertilizer. We know how good that is for a garden, but would you sign up for having poop applied all around your core? I wouldn't.
But without it, we won't bear fruit. And by 'it,' I mean digging, rousting, removing and exposing. I mean having stinky circumstances that are embarrassing, painful, confusing and life changing. These are the things that wake us up to an eternal perspective and inspire us to work more for the Kingdom than this ashen world.