Like a Tree
Do you like the new website design? Our special thanks to Alan Knox and his web expertise for this gift! He has patiently borne with me these many months. It is my prayer that this new design will make it easier to serve His purposes.
While priming some boards for a home project, I sat down to take a break. As I drank my water, I looked around at the forest. New little baby green leaves were popping out everywhere. Undergrowth was getting more & more lush; soon it will be so thick we can’t see 5 feet into the woods. And have you noticed that each tree in the forest is it’s own? No tree is exactly the same. Some are tall, some twisted, some covered with vines, some show signs of lightening strikes. One tree has this pattern for its branches and another tree has that pattern.
As I gazed at the forest, I thought how much this is like Life. Each tree has been planted at a particular location, for a particular space of time. No other tree occupies it’s allotted space of ground. For the life of that tree, it goes through its cycles. Raccoons, possums, cats scamper up its trunk. Birds rest wearily on its branches, singing their pretty songs. Vines grip it in an upward journey.
Then one day the logging truck arrives. Or lightening reaches from Heaven. Or little bugs enter its trunk.
And the cycles stop. Life ends…sometimes slowly, sometimes abruptly.
But during its allotted lifespan, the elm tree does not try to be like the oak tree, and the oak doesn’t try to be like the pine. None of them argues with the sweetgum. They just “naturally” focus on being what they were meant to be at the time of their creation.
You & I have been ‘planted’ by the Lord Jesus during this space of time and on this space of ground. The Scriptures teach that the Lord Jesus not only created the world in the beginning, but He also manages the world now. Nothing happens apart from His determination. You & I were ‘determined’ by Him. I was planted on this earth about 9 months before May 12, 1953. I don’t know when the logger or a bug or a lightening strike will occur, but I know He knows. My focus is not on that event, but on being the best human tree that I can be during the years He’s allotted.
And what is the Creator’s purpose for a Human Tree? Psalm One is a good reference. He doesn’t live according to ungodly counsel. (Read popular magazines, talk shows, neighbors) He doesn’t idle his days away with those who are doing wrong. (Read ungodly friends.) He doesn’t rest, make his bed, find his refreshment in the company of those who mock God. (Read romance novels & soap operas, ungodly movies, drinking buddies.)
On the contrary, God’s purpose for the Human Tree is that he delight in the lifestyle, the way, the “law” of the Lord! This is the same Lord who created him, loves him, and gave Himself for him! Day & night, all 4 seasons of the year, in difficult circumstances & easy circumstances….always a focus on Him and His way.
If we will give ourselves to being the Tree that He has planned, then He will bless us with healthy leaves & good fruit. Look at verse 3….”and whatever he does shall prosper.” This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It is not a how-to-be-healthy-&-wealthy-in-one-easy-step plan. No, this is a lifestyle. And a life is not weighed in the balance until it is over. Anything can happen before then. It is at the time of logging that the trees are selected. (Not until the end do we understand the true values in life, so we must trust the One who made & sustains Life.)
As I look around at older Human Trees, I notice a big difference between those who have made Him their lifestyle and those who got distracted from their purpose. The difference? A deep peace, contentment, fulfillment, settledness, joy.
Yes, we are only fulfilled when we fulfill His purpose for us. And His purpose is that we live in the Forest of Life focused on being the Tree that He intended. A Tree that lives Him.