Monday, February 5, 2007

What is a Tree Worth?

I have always loved trees.
We bought our ‘dream’ property in 1974, six private, treed acres of wild forest and animals. Deep ravines divided the property with all year creeks. On the second ridge stood a huge maple that measured over 25 feet in circumference and stood higher than all the trees around it. When we built our house, I could see this tree from our kitchen breakfast nook and in all the years we lived there , I never tired of gazing at it through all the changing seasons.
We recently sold this property but a couple of years before we did , my husband came into the house one day and said, “Do you want to make $1,000.00 dollars?” I glanced at him and the expression on his face told me that he knew I would not agree to whatever it was I had to do to make the money. But I was curious and asked, “How?”
“Sell the maple tree on the ridge.” I was incredulous . “What?!?”
He explained that someone had just been at our place asking if we wanted to sell the tree. They had tested it and it was a curly maple , valued wood used to make violins and fine furniture. The only way they could get it out would be to airlift it in pieces with a helicopter.
I didn’t even have to consider it . “No Way !!” Vic laughed and said, “Well, that’s what I told him, that my wife would never agree to sell the tree.” The man had said that he could probably up the price a little but we did not even ask how high they would go.
Joyce Kilmer wrote a poem the last line of which is, “Only God can make a tree.” I agree !

It is an interesting detail that the very first story in the bible centers around a tree and the last chapter of the bible talks about the trees that will be in the eternal city.
I couldn’t sleep last night and I lay musing on Psalm 1 , which compares a righteous man to a tree.
The Psalm begins with a declaration of what a blessed man doesn’t do and what he does do.
He “walks not in the counsel of the ungodly" - The ungodly man speaks of the things of the flesh, of the world, the things that are contrary to God.
The one who listens and follows him will be drawn aside into the ungodly mind set until he ‘stands in the path of sinners’. He has progressed from listening to being … standing where he is drawn into the company of sinners and partaking of their sinful deeds.
Associating with sinners will harden his heart even further until he is so comfortable he is “sitting in the seat of the scornful”. He now looks with contempt on the things of God with open scorn.
The Psalm warns that there is no blessing for a man who follows this path.
The one who is blessed is the one who “delights in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night”. The Psalmist tells us to meditate on God’s word, to read it , to think about it during the day , to look for ways to express God’s truth in our words or work.
You do not have to listen to a person for very long to find out what he delights in. Our thought life centers around the things that are most important to us and our mouths are quick to speak of the same.
Do you remember when you first fell in love, how your thoughts were so consumed with your ‘love’ that you found it difficult to think of anything else for any length of time?
What would this world be like if all Christians were so ‘in love’ with God’s Word, that they thought and spoke of it every chance they had?

The Psalmist tells us what a man who centers his passion on God’s word is like…….
“He shall be like a tree planted” Trees grow in many places, but when a tree is planted by someone …. .great care is taken to plant the tree in a spot that best suited for it’s healthy growth. We are planted by God in His kingdom … actually transplanted from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God.(Col. 1:13 ) God’s word is ‘living water’ than nourishes our soul and spirit and teaches us the things of God.
A tree that is nourished will be fruitful…”that brings forth its fruit in its season”
I grew up on a farm where we had an orchard and I remember how we watched and waited for the fruit to be ripe. Have you ever thought about how a tree gives its fruit without diminishing itself? When we bring forth fruit… it is an overflow of God’s goodness within us that we offer for the benefit of those around us. A tree does not benefit from its own fruit. If it is not picked it simply falls off and rots. The promise here is that our fruit will be timely ..– when it is most healthy and ripe and of most benefit to the ones who ‘pick it’.
The comparison continues - “whose leaf also shall not wither.” What a joy it is to see a tree that is strong and healthy with not a single withered leaf.
Do we have ‘withered leaves’ ? Areas of our life that are not drawing from the well of living water? Characteristics or personality quirks that need to be pruned , that are still of the ‘old man’ and not the new?
And then comes the line…”and whatever he does shall prosper.” Isn’t that the way we would all like to live? The prosperity spoken of here is not the monetary kind that fails to satisfy, but is the kind that brings contentment and fulfillment to every area of your life.

While the man who delights in God’s word is like a tree …. “the ungodly are not so” but “are like the chaff the wind blows away”. There is nothing solid, nothing of value in the life of someone who turns away from God. Chaff… at the mercy of the wind that blows it where it will. Perhaps the ungodly man thought he could stand in the company of sinners, but “the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” Though God allows man to go his own way for a time.. there is coming a judgment day when he will have to answer for his life and “the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

But, “The Lord knows the way of the righteous.” God Himself is the guide for those who follow after Him and He will direct their paths .

What kind of tree are you ? Are you planted by the rivers of water? Do your roots go down deep to drink of the wonderful water of God’s Word?

3 comments:

Lovella said...

Truth be told, some days I feel like a Hawthorne with big prickles, what I'd like to be is a pusseywillow in spring. Yup, one that would only be gentle against someone else.
They like to grow in ditches, where there roots can go down to drink. Yup, I'd like to be a pusseywillow for sure.

Yokooso said...

You know what Julie? A thought or picture popped into my head while reading...

I saw a fruit tree, I pictured it's fruit being picked b/c if it were not it would fall and rot, being of no use but to improve the tree's life, completing it's cycle...but then I though we are like that tree and our fruit are those things we do for God, we may not see some of those things being used by Him, but we're completing His cycle for our lives still and as for the fruit that is picked or the things we do for God that He decides to have someone notice or pick, is picked and therefore touches that lost person's life!

So therefore I guess what I'm trying to say here is that: I think God is trying to tell us that we have purpose whether we see our fruit being produced for a purpose or not...you know it can be so depressing so purposless feeling when we don't see results from our endeavors but God wants us to know that even the "no results" are results!

Does that make sense?

Thanks for encouraging me in faith~

Love you sister!

Julie said...

yes, Demara, I agree ! a tree does not know whether its fruit is being 'picked' or if it has just fallen to the ground. So we do not always see the results of our 'fruit' but God does not waste anything done for Him so we can trust that our fruit is making a difference in God's kingdom!
Thank-you for sharing your insight!