Do You Remember the Original Intent?
Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
- Luke 13:6-9
A common explanation for this passage is that the vineyard owner represents God and the caretaker represents us. Like Abraham bargaining with God in Genesis 18, the caretaker represents us when we stand up to God and wrestle for what we think is best. The key to do so well is to remember the original intent of the Owner.
The Owner wanted the fig tree to be fruitful. That was always the plan. And so the caretaker feels comfortable in pushing back against the Owner because he has in mind the original intent for the fig tree.
In many ways, this is exactly the kind of prayer that Jesus taught when he said we should pray “Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus is saying we should appeal to the original intent - for earth to be made right, to be heavenly. That’s how God originally designed it, and this prayer, like the caretaker in the vineyard, is leaning on the Owner to remember that original intent.
What are the things that bother you about how the world is right now? What are the places out there that are not fruitful - talk to God about that right now, being unafraid to remind God of the original intent for those things. And think about your own life as well - for the places where you’re not flourishing - and talk with God about those places in your life, too.