Reading: And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” Luke 13:8–9

Do we not see the Lord Jesus here represented in His glorious office of our high priest and intercessor? And is it thus that He so mercifully pleads for the unawakened and unprofitable among His people? Pause, my soul! Was it not from the effects of His intercession, that the world itself was spared from instant destruction when Adam first brake through the fence of God’s law? Is it not now by His same rich grace that thousands are spared from year to year in Christ Jesus before that they are called to the knowledge of Christ Jesus?

Nay, my soul! Pause once more over the view of this wonderful subject and ask yourself was it not from the same almighty interposition that you were kept from going down to the pit during the long, long period of your unregenerate state, while you were wholly unconscious of it? And was it from your gracious intercession, blessed Jesus, that I then lived, that I am now spared, and, after all my barrenness, that another year of grace is opening before me?

Oh, precious, precious Jesus! Make me fruitful in your garden! Do, Lord, as thou hast said: dig about me, and pour upon me all the sweet influences of your Holy Spirit, which, like the rain, and the sun, and the dew of heaven, may cause me to bring forth fruit unto God. And, Lord, if so unworthy a creature may drop a petition at your mercy seat for others, let the coming year be productive of the same blessings to all the redeemed; even to my poor unawakened relations among them; and to thousands of those who are yet in nature’s darkness. Oh that this may be to them the acceptable year of the Lord!

“Bearing fruit is not a function added to a plant but is an integral part of its design and purpose.”—John MacArthur

Taken from The Poor Man’s Evening and Morning Portions by Rev. Robert Hawker, Works, Vol. 8; 1830. Edited by Aaron Dunlop for ©2013.