In the backyard of my childhood home, there was a large willow tree. I remember being astounded by its size, the height and width that engulfed our back yard. Trees provide shade, beauty and numerous other gifts—from the tires on our cars to the fruit on our tables.
Did you know that other than people, trees are mentioned more than any other creation in the Bible? From the trees created on the first page of Genesis to the tree of life mentioned on the last page of Revelation, there are things to learn from trees. The first Psalm even exhorts believers to be like a tree!! So, what would that look like?
We would learn to: turn toward the Light
One of the memories I have of second grade is planting seeds in two pots. One was placed on the window sill; the other was placed in a dark closet. The plant on the window sill began turning its leaves toward the sun, growing rapidly. The one in the closet grew slowly and was a paler color.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12). A tree naturally seeks light. We can follow their example and seek the Light of the world.
We would learn to: put down roots
Trees need water as much as they need light. The first Psalm is a description of what Godly women and men look like. They are like “trees planted by rivers of water” and they “meditate” on God’s Law Day and night. The deeper our “roots” go in the Bible, the more we’re able to withstand the trials, troubles, and other droughts that come our
Healthy, mature trees have roots that travel in all directions seeking water and nutrients. I have found myself searching biblical stories and verses, seeking strength, comfort and peace during these troubling times. I have
thought on how my parents dealt with difficult times, by leaning on their faith, and have followed their example.
We would learn to: bring forth fruit
What good would an apple tree be if it never produced any apples? It’s easy to look like a fruit tree, but Jesus said that we’d be known by the fruit we produce (Matt 7:16-20).
Our church building was closed for a while, but THE CHURCH was open for God’s business. Blessing bags, food pantry donations, donations of puzzle books to nursing homes, ‘check-in’ calls and cards for each other, cards for nursing homes, blessing boxes, on-line messages and services, our church has fulfilled Jesus’ call to us to love one another…. even in uncertain and troubled times.
We would learn to: think long term
Human lives are short. Not so for some trees. Think on the redwoods in California. In the Holy Land, we saw a tree in the Garden of Gethsemane that was alive in Jesus’ time. How many times do we make decisions based
upon short-term gain? What would the world look like if we put our roles as stewards of the Earth first?
In this time of being at home, I have spent a lot of time on my deck, enjoying the trees in my yard and speaking to God. I think trees remind us that life is much bigger than our present moment. Their deep roots and sprawling branches call us to look to heaven and eternity.
May you find peace in the lessons our friends, the trees, share with us.