I ask couples in premarriage counseling this question: “Who do you want to marry: the person you are marrying or the person you hope they become?” There’s a right answer, you know. It’s the person you’re marrying! It’s dangerous to enter into a marriage thinking that you can change the other person. Many have tried and been disappointed. Change is hard!
Jesus told a parable about a man who had a fig tree. Year after year he went out to look for fruit but did not find any. He wanted to cut the tree down. It’s a stern warning to us. God is not looking for the superficial leaves of religion; he is looking for real fruit that comes from following him. And too often, the fruit I produce is paltry.
But this story filled with warning also has a hero. The caretaker of the vineyard jumped in between the owner and the fig tree and said, “Sir . . . leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it” (Luke 13:8).
Do you know who the caretaker is? It’s Jesus. On the cross he stood between us and the ax of God. Jesus was cut down so that we could live.
Now he tends you with his Word, and he fertilizes you with the Lord’s Supper because as our caretaker, he knows, “I can put fruit on that tree.”
With the right Caretaker, people really can change!