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The Parable of
THE BARREN FIG TREE
Darren was having a great day…until he got home. As soon as he opened the front door, he was assailed with the usual sight; the house was a mess. The TV was blasting, there were junk food wrappers littering the living room, and the dirty laundry was everywhere but in the hamper. In the kitchen, dishes sat unwashed from the previous night. It was well past their usual dinnertime, but nothing was cooking on the stove.
“Oh, hi, Honey”, said his wife, coming in from the bedroom. “I didn’t hear you come in.” She was in her bathrobe and slippers, as usual. She probably never got dressed all day…again.
“Did you get to the store today?” Darren asked, hopefully.
“No”, she said. “I’ll get to it tomorrow.”
“That’s what you said yesterday”, said Darren. “Natalie, we have a problem.”
“Now what?” she said with a sigh.
“I leave in the morning, and I work hard all day long so you can be a housewife, like you wanted to be. Do you even have any plans for dinner?”
“I thought we’d order a pizza”, she said.
“We’ve had pizza three times this week”, said Darren.
“But you love pizza”, she said.
“I love cookies, too, but I can’t eat cookies all week. We need a reasonable diet.”
“Alright”, Natalie said, annoyed. “I’ll throw in a TV dinner.”
“Natalie, it goes deeper than that. We’ve been married for three years, and you’re not doing anything around here like you said you would. Just look at yourself.” He spread his arms out. “Look at this room. It’s a mess! What do you do around here all day?”
Natalie surveyed the room, quietly.
“Never mind”, said Darren. “I know the answer to that.
Natalie started to pick up the trash hastily.
“Maybe you’d better think about getting a part-time job or something”, said Darren. “At least it would get you up and out of the house once in a while.”
“But Honey”, said Natalie, “I thought we agreed that I would stay home with the kids.”
“We don’t have any kids yet”, said Darren. “and at this rate, we won’t be having any. I’m beginning to think this marriage was a mistake.”
Natalie stared at him in shock as he stormed into his den and shut the door.
He stayed in there all night, and left for work before she got up. Natalie was really concerned. Darren had never been so outspoken, so she knew he was serious. That day, she decided to leave the TV. off and take a personal inventory of her faults. She was appalled at the length of the list. At first, she was overwhelmed, and she was about to quit, but instead, she decided to pick the three most important things on her list to work on.
She knew Darren was the most upset with the messy house, lack of nutritious meals, and the way she dressed. She knew she could improve in these areas right away. She set her pen down, and got to work.
The moment Darren walked through the door, she was rewarded with his smile. He said nothing, but went up to her, and hugged her gently for a long time.
“I’m sorry I snapped at you yesterday”, he said.
“What you said was true”, Natalie replied. “I thought all day about it, and I decided to work on some things. Just give me a little time, and I promise I’ll change.”
Natalie was true to her word. By their next anniversary, she had become neat and clean and organized. Once she had put her problems down on paper, they didn’t seem so overwhelming. She loved the feeling she had as she crossed each one off her list. Her self-esteem started to go up, and she found an inner happiness that she hadn’t known before.
Darren was obviously pleased as well. He did everything he could to encourage her and to help out. He bragged about her to their friends, and everyone knew how much he loved her.
They began to surprise each other with little gifts every so often, and their marriage blossomed. Tonight, it was her turn to surprise him. She couldn’t wait to tell him about the upcoming arrival of their new little bundle of joy.
THE BARREN FIG TREE (Luke 13:6-9)
“A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, ‘Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none. Cut it down; why cumber the ground?’
And he answering said unto him, ‘Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it. And if it bears fruit, well. And if not, then after that you shall cut it down.’”