I think I'm getting there with the fig tree.
People want reassurance from Jesus that when bad things hit people it's God judging bad people, not PLUs (People like us). Jesus tells the story to turn attention away from judging others & onto judging ourselves - we should be bearing good fruit.
The obvious thing to do with this fig tree is cut it down (they are, apparently, very 'hungry' plants - a friend tells me "you should always bury a dead donkey under a fig tree" - eeeugh!) - but Good News! - the tree gets another chance, just as God gives us 'time to amend our lives' as some prayers of confession put it. But what happens?? Does the tree take the opportunity?? There Jesus hands over to you - are you going to take the opportunity to change & be more fruitful?
We might think that the news stories (Haiti, Peru, Uganda...etc) test us - but the real test is what you do with your life-chance.
Well.. that's the gist - will now try to make that a sermon that lasts longer than 3 minutes (do I hear disappointed sighs out there?).