The parable of the fig tree is a metaphor for God's care as well as Gods expectation. The care is seen most clearly in the willingness of the land owner to give the tree one more year to do what it has not been able to do in the previous three years: produce figs. Care is also seen in the willingness of the gardener to give the tree special attention—to nourish it—with the expectation that this year will indeed be different or it will be cut down.
Each Lenten season is an occasion for experiencing God's care and responding to the expectation that the awareness of God's care engenders in us. Paul Tillich noted that the first and most important response to God's care and love for us is to accept the fact that we are accepted. The second response, however long that may take, is to bear fruit.
May we bear the fruit that is expected in response to your love for us. Amen.
Luke 13:1-9 (NRSV)
1 At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 He asked them, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?
3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.
4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them--do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem?
5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did."
6 Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none.
7 "So he said to the gardener, 'See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?'
8 "He replied, 'Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it.
9 "'If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'"