Everything in existence today has multiple functions. The reason the item was created is the primary function and all other uses are secondary or tertiary. For example, a clothing iron from colonial America can be used as a paperweight. The original purpose was to iron clothes, but with the advance of technology, the secondary use became apparent. Of course, to the average consumer, owning a paperweight shaped like an antique iron isn’t considered a necessity. A tertiary use for an old iron is to take up space in a landfill. While not as glamorous as use as a paperweight, it is still a potential use.
While Jesus was walking the earth, He spent some time thinking about the primary purpose for His chosen peopl, Israel. He realized that their primary function was to produce fruit. This means to live a life in accordance with God’s will while sharing their faith with the rest of mankind. As their Messiah, his goal was to collect the fruit of their labor a and present it to God. Unfortunately, when He saw Israel, He realized that they were not living up to their purpose.
He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ” (Luke 13:6-9 NKJV)
Instead of finding a flourishing orchard, the Lord Jesus found a single fig tree without so much as one fig on it. In compassion, He tended the tree for 3 years before declaring it useless. Of course, it could be said that it wasn’t entirely useless. A tree could be good for providing shade. But the primary function of this tree was to bear fruit and if it wasn’t doing this, Jesus was ready to use it as firewood.
What is your primary function? Are you fulfilling it? If not, we are in danger of Jesus saying “cut him down, why does he take up space here?”