Second Chances

Many of the New Testament parables are familiar to everyone, but this morning I came across one in Luke that I’ve never noticed before. It goes like this:

“A man had a fig tree, planted 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.'”

I can’t tell you what Jesus meant to convey with this parable, but it speaks to me about the promises and the constraints of second chances.

First, there are the “second chances” the tree has already had. The fig tree owner had given the tree three years’ worth of chances to bear fruit. When it failed the first year, he gave it two more years to produce before he was ready to cut it down. But in those two years, nothing was done to aid the tree’s ability to produce. Now,┬áthe vineyard tender will take it upon himself to aerate the soil around the tree and add the nutrients the tree is apparently lacking. This is how one avoids wasting a second chance.

Where in your life are you being offered a second chance? Could be that it’s only one more “do over” in a whole string; could be that it’s your last chance. In either case, it’s your opportunity to figure out a better way.

What do you see in this parable?


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