“Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed.

“The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer.”

Luke 13:6, 8 (NLT)


We continue to set ourselves up for disappointment when we refuse to face the fact that some things will not change without us making difficult decisions. We can’t keep coming back to people and places that are not yielding their potential.

Jesus tells a parable of a man that had planted a fig tree but every year he searched for fruit on the tree and there was none. He checked for three years. He was disappointed year after year. At this point it’s not the tree’s fault. It’s his expectations. He made up his mind that he was going to stop expecting something from a tree that couldn’t produce.

  1. The first thing we have to do is to make up our mind that it’s time to stop being disappointed and do something about it. The man was hopeful that the tree would bear fruit. After all, he planted it! It was pretty but not fruitful. It was taking up space where another tree might be more productive.
  2. Give it one more year with special attention and extra fertilizer. In other words, work on what’s not productive. If that’s counseling, classes, training, one-on-one meetings; we are going to put the work in on this person or issue. One more year! Set a time and a plan to make it better.
  3. If nothing happens after that… cut it down! I can’t be disappointed another year. It’s costing me more to hold on to what ain’t working than it is to start over with something new. I might have to start over with a young tree or by moving a different tree to the spot where the other tree wouldn’t grow.

In his book Leadership Pain Dr. Samuel Chand wrote that we can only grow an organization when we are able to raise our threshold for pain. There’s no growth with change, no change without loss, no loss without pain. No pain, no gain!


Dear God,

I’m finished with being disappointed. I have to change my expectation or change the people around me. I need a fruit tree not a shade tree. I can’t afford to have people in my life who are supposed to be fruitful but instead keep throwing me shade. Help me and the people around me to be fruitful. Work on me and fertilize my situation so that the ground no longer yields disappointment. 
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen