Monday, August 24, 2009

Older Trees

When you think of trees, what comes to mind? Perhaps you think about planting them, or you recall the growth you have seen over the years in the ones already planted. Maybe it is their blossoms, their leaves, or the fruit that they bear. Trees may make you think of the type of wood they are comprised of, maybe picnics or playhouses or something else.

Jesus thought about trees. He often used them in illustrating the kind of people God wants us to be. He expressed the necessity of being a good tree bearing good fruit (Matt. 7:17-19). He used a tree and its branches to describe the kingdom of God (Matt. 13:32). With one particular fig tree he articulated true faith (Matt. 21:19-21).

The Psalmist declared that the person whose delight is in the law of the Lord, who meditates on it, "...shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper" (Psalm 1:3).

Some trees are stronger than others. Older trees have experienced the storms and lived through them. Older trees have deeper root systems, wider trunks, and heavier branches. Trees that are older often produce the most mature and most pleasant tasting fruit.

I have always believed that older trees are more beautiful then saplings. You can just see their stability, the character of the bark, the shape of their trunks and branches, the shade and splendor of their leaves.

I am thankful for these trees. Because I can depend on them. I can learn from them. I can admire them. I can try to be like them.

As I saw Authel Atkins partake of the Lord's Supper this past Sunday, I was reminded of the faithfulness of older trees. As I watched Thomas Monroe sing praises to God at the 1 p.m. service, I was reminded of the beauty of older trees. As I noticed Henry and Marie Windham leaving the building, along with Joe and Ruby Bass, Alvin Brown and Naoma Jacobs, I was reminded of the determination and dependability of older trees.

And I thanked God, and asked him to let me rest my faith upon their branches.

Shall we sit idly down and say,

The night hath come; it is no longer day?

The night hath not yet come; we are not quite

Cut off from labor by the failing light;

Something remains for us to do or dare;

Even the oldest tree some fruit may bear.

Henry W. Longfellow

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