6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” (Luke 13:6-9)
This tree, which was failing to produce any fruit, was taking up valuable resources and limited soil space. The man caring for the vineyard had given time and energy in order to prune and water this tree. Despite all his efforts, after three years, still nothing to show for it.
When Jesus talks about discipleship, he also talks about producing fruit. The life of a disciple has to produce something or it’s not discipleship. The fruit of following Jesus looks a lot like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness…(Galatians 5:22-23).
Perhaps one of the other things you’re producing is other disciples. The work is long and strenuous, sometimes taking years. Don’t give up. Keep at it but know when it’s time to “shake the dust” and move on. Time and resources are valuable and limited.