Luke 18:8-15 (New International Version)
8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” 15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.
Once there was a man who owned a small plot of ground. One day he said to himself what shall I do with this land, why let it stand idle? He decided I will plant a garden and I will be diligent and work hard and when harvest comes the land will yield a great portion of fruit. So he sowed some seed and watered and worked the piece of land.
Eventually one day it began to grow, the man was so excited. He was encouraged to work all the harder. Every day he went into the field planting, watering, pruning and chasing away the birds and animals that would devour his work.
As time went on sometimes he would be discouraged. He would look at his garden and think to himself "for all the labor I do the growth looks so sparse". Still he continued to do his job, because that's what you do with a garden. One day he looked in his garden and he saw a small healthy looking plant he had not seen before. It was a small weed. Soon the weed grew and multiplied. The man went to his garden and he was amazed at the growth and strength of this plant. It seemed to do all that you would want a plant to do and it required no help.
The man began to watch its growth every day with a new fever of enthusiasm. Every morning he would race to his field and see the progress. "Wow!" he thought, "yesterday there was a few and now there are many." Day after day the garden looked fuller and fuller. He stopped worrying about the labor he used to do "I've worked long enough" he thought "Now it's time to see some real growth".
Sometimes he would take a walk and see his neighbors gardens; "ha, they look so small." "If they had half the gardening sense I do they'd really have something going". Finally in time the big day came. It was time for harvest. The man went to his garden to gather his rewards. There it was a beautiful field of green. All those old weak plants he used to work with were long since gone. He thought "well let's get with it".
He went to his plants and began to examine each one closely. Hmm no fruit on the leaves, hmm no fruit on the stock. Let's pull one up and see what's there. He dug, and tugged and pulled. Out it came, he looked at the roots, nothing there either. He stopped and sat a minute. "What's happening" he thought. Then in shock he realized his plight, "They bear no fruit!". For all their growth, the weeds were worthless. He lamented "They looked so great, Oh how they grew and flourished all season".
The man sat and moaned, what could he now do, harvest was over.
Dear Lord we pray that we would plant in the hearts of man, Your Word, that they would become more like You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.