Date: March 24, 2019
Ruthlessness: the one uncompromising rule of gardening – pruning, chopping, weeding, deadheading, dividing, removing the weak and sick, throwing away the plants that inhibit or crowd the others. Out go the plants that don’t produce fruit or function as a helpful neighbour to another plant. Out go plants that do not offer beauty or scent or pleasure or visual interest.
In Jesus’ parable the owner of the garden observes a barren fig tree. Reasonably, he orders it yanked out. But the gardener suggests that the owner give the fig another year. In the meantime he’ll break up the hard earth, aerating the ground around it so the roots can breathe and drink and take in nourishment. He’ll put manure around it, that golden substance which is the very ground of life and fertility – changing the very soil nurturing the fig tree.
So could it be that we are called to be good stewards of the gifts God has given us–our time, our talent, and our resources? That God expects us to be fruitful to the best of our abilities? Sure, we will have times and seasons when we are less than fruitful in our ministry, mission, worship, and generosity. Even plants and trees have fallow seasons or “manure years” during which they rest and replenish.
Lent offers the time of aerating the soil and adding humble manure. Lent is a time of taking care of things, while being taken care of.