Expectations matter. When ours are met or exceeded, that uplifts us. When something we expect fails to measure up, we deflate. I once expected a big toy truck for Christmas. When I ran to find it under the tree, and it wasn’t there, I felt forgotten. Until I was handed a red-ink letter from Santa, explaining why my truck was delayed! I treasured that letter for a long time.
God, who loves us, has expectations for us. In today’s passage, Jesus tells a story about an unproductive fig tree to describe God’s unfruitful people. The vineyard owner expects to find figs and Jesus expects those who worship to become a beloved community where justice abounds. He laments the lack of fruitful relationships and uses this parable to make his grief known.
I need to hear this passage. Maybe you do too. We find it easier to go through the motions with God than to do the hard work of digging deeply to nurture spiritual growth. Sometimes we need to evaluate whether we’re producing the variety of fruit that Jesus wants to offer our world. Jesus longs for the fruits of goodness and compassion to be plentiful. He envisions the bounty that grows from good works and caring for the least among us, the expansive orchard that is planted and tended through meaningful connections with God.
So, how is your garden growing these days? Is your life producing what Jesus looks for from each of us? God is a gardener who wants to tend to our growth. Like the gardener of the fig tree, God sees more potential within us than what may appear on the surface. Like the gardener pleading for more time, such is God’s mercy. Why does God wait on us? Our expectant God envisions who we can be. Bear fruit, oh fig tree, bear fruit.
What expectations do you think God has for your life today?
God, help me to bear the fruit you long to see in my life. Amen.