From Jesus to Heaven with Love: A Parable Pilgrimage [MultiFormat]
Click on image to enlarge.
eBook by Barbara Garro
eBook Category: General Nonfiction
eBook Description: Barbara Garro writes for the people in the pews, because she's been one of them for over 50 years. She makes the New Testament come alive using St. Anthony's style of writing for all to understand and grow spiritually. Families and Bible study groups will find thirty-three of Jesus's parables in a discussion-friendly format.
eBook Publisher: ebooksonthe.net/ebooksonthe.net, Published: e-book, 2010
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2010
* * * *
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
In the Middle East, fruit trees were often planted in vineyards. Common gestation for a fig tree to bear fruit was three years or more. All the while, the owner of the orchard watched and waited. How interesting that Jesus's ministry lasted three years until His death and resurrection bore the fruit of our redemption.
Only from the Bible stories about the fig tree, Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist and cousin of Jesus's mother, Mary) and Sarah (Isaac's mother and Abraham's wife) do I know the word barren. The word barren stops me. It bothers me that only the woman of a childless couple gets the barren label, as if she is solely responsible for their childless fate.
Elizabeth and Sarah were old, beyond child-bearing years. God made a promise and gave both of them the miracle of birth. The story of the fate of the barren fig tree remains one of Jesus's open-ended parables.
I tell you, now: unless you repent, you will all perish. And he told them this parable: A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came in search of fruit on it, and found none.
Then he said to the dresser of his vineyard, Look, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down. Why should I spend the soil? And in answering him said, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it. And if it bear fruit, well, and if not, then after that, order it cut down. ( Luke 13:5-9)
Visualize the fig tree with only leaves and no fruit, within an orchard where other trees blossom and bear fruit. What impression does that image call up to you? Can you think of a time in your life when you felt as if you were barren while others blossomed? Did it make you angry, envious, or discouraged? Or, can you think of a time in your life when you noticed others barren while you blossomed? Did you feel cream rises to the top, pity or apathy? Can you think of a time when someone wasn't doing well and you convinced another to give that person a chance to blossom?
* * * *
Mind Map the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree.
Did you discover any new insights? Think about or note any insights, thoughts, and/or feelings.
* * * *
Consider that God created you with love and unlimited potential. Within you are the seeds of your unique fruit. God created everyone equally but with seeds to bear different fruits. From there, God leaves you with intellect and free will. Your fruit becomes your creation. Are you bearing good fruit?
For the congregation of the hypocrite is barren and fire shall devour their tabernacles who love to take bribes. He hath conceived sorrow and hath brought forth iniquity and his womb prepares deceits. ( Job 15:34-35)
When on the outside you look good, but on the inside, spiritually, you remain barren, no succulent and useful fruit comes. When you choose this place, your loving God waits patiently for your repentance.
God remains infinitely patient and will accept your sincere repentance even if it comes with your last breath.
* * * *
Jesus uses the term barren to describe a fruitless fig tree to sound a call for repentance. Without repentance, we will perish.
You are known by your fruits. While God waits patiently, you have a responsibility to bear fruit. Whatever keeps you from producing fruit in your cycles must be overcome. Pray for God's blessings. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom. Look to Jesus for your example. Prune, feed, and water your spiritual roots. Like the orchard owner, watch and nurture your growth cycles. Aim for a balance of root, stem, leaf, blossom, and fruit.
* * * *
Jesus cautions you to repent and come to your quest for eternal life through Him alone, for He is your hope and your salvation. God has given you Jesus, the living water. If you fail to drink, you choose to perish.
When you recognize that enabling you to attain eternal life was so important to God that He sacrificed His only Son, can you ever understand why salvation isn't your first goal?
Jesus died so that our sins could be forgiven. After His rising from the dead, Jesus's first word at the gate in the beginning of the Gospel was one word, come. His last word to His disciples was one word, go, go and grow the Word of God to bear fruit in the hearts of the people.
* * * *
Message from Jesus
Without the Father, your life is barren. The Father supplies all your needs:
* The water of Baptism
* The seed of faith
* The dirt of Ash Wednesday
* The feeding from my forgiven faithlessness
* The sun of His Son
* The time and seasons of earth
* The breath of the Holy Spirit
* Free will
* * * *
Summary Writing Exercise
Complete your notes on The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree by pondering these questions:
1.Where is my spiritual life barren?
2.What can I do each day to show my love bearing fruit?
3.What am I doing to show God I am gratefully bearing fruit with the talents he gave me?
* * * *
Barren Fig Tree Affirmations
* I keep uppermost in my mind that by my fruits God will know me.
* I am grateful for and use wisely God's gifts to grow spiritually.
* I am patient with those who struggle to blossom.