Camping Under a Fig Tree

There are many ways to create interest and inject life into daily Bible reading.  Here are two of my favorites:  asking questions of the text, and googling.

Parable:  “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.’ ”  Luke 13:6-9

  First question:  Why did the man plant a fig tree in his vineyard?  A vineyard is a place for growing grapes, not figs.  A tree takes up lots of room.  I googled “How to Grow a Fig Tree”, and a gardening site said a fig tree needs 10 feet on all sides cleared.  That’s a lot of grape vines.  The man must have really wanted some figs.

Second question:  Were the man’s expectations realistic?  He’d been waiting three years to eat a fig.  I googled “Fig Production”, and a fruit tree site said typically a fig tree produces fruit in two years, so it seems reasonable to be looking for something to sink his teeth into by this time.

Third question:  Why wasn’t the tree producing any fruit?  A vineyard is a carefully cultivated and fertile spot, enriched with all the nutrients it needs to bear a crop.  Here’s where it gets good.  I googled “How to Make a Tree Bear Fruit” and a diy.com video held the secret.  According to the expert, trees that don’t produce fruit  just require some stimulation to get in reproductive mode.  “What the tree needs is to feel threatened,” said the expert, (I’m not kidding) “and the tree will think, ‘Uh oh, I’m going to die, so I’d better produce some fruit.'”  At this point in the video, the expert picks up a baseball bat and instructs us to “whack it upside the trunk a few times, six or eight times.”  After the whacking is demonstrated he assures us that “now the tree knows it is under attack and that’s ok because that will stimulate the production of flowers and fruit next year.”

The man with the baseball bat set me to thinking…

What is the lesson here?  Chew on it awhile.  What do you think?