A certain man had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard, and he came and sought fruit thereon, but found none. Then he called to the gardener who attended to his vineyard, and said to him, |Behold these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none. Cut it down. Why does it encumber the ground?|
The gardener answered him and said, |Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it and manure it. And if it bear fruit then, it is well; but if not, then, after that, thou shalt cut it down.|
In this parable the vineyard means the world, and the fig-tree ungodly people whose lives do not produce good works -- do not produce fruit in the service of God. The Lord of the vineyard, that is, God, would destroy such people, but Christ intercedes in their behalf, that time for repentance may be given. |He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.| Christ came and sought to change men's hearts, and make their lives fruitful for God. The warning has been given, and when the Lord of the vineyard comes again to seek good fruit the unfruitful trees shall be destroyed.
Am I a barren tree, dear Lord?
A cumberer of the ground.
Oh! give me grace to fruitful be,
And in Thy work abound.
[Illustration: THE UNFRUITFUL TREE.]