In all of our Spring winds this year, the old peach tree in my backyard broke off near the ground level. The trunk and branches with their dying, then dead leaves covered a section of my garden area. That dead peach tree has served as an object lesson from God for me. Jesus said in John 15:6 , “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” Every time I’ve gone out to water, I’ve been confronted by that dead tree, and thought, ‘I’ve got to stay connected to You, Lord, even when the storms of life are raging. Even on busy days, I need that life-giving strength that only You can give me!’ Times in my garden have always been times of prayer and meditation for me, but this year, I’ve had that big reminder sitting there telling me what will happen to me if I don’t spend time with the Lord.
Driving down the street every day now, I see people selling peaches. I think, ‘Boy, I sure miss having peaches on my own tree in my yard, but they’re gone forever-or at least until I get around to planting another tree.’ Now is the time to plant or renew some of those spiritual practices that will produce spiritual fruit, too. I’ve got to keep that lifeline with God in good shape. It takes care and feeding daily! Bible study, prayer and regular worship are necessary to keep us connected to God and alive in Christ.
Yesterday, I came home and found that some kind person had slipped into my backyard and cut up the dead tree into useable firewood and stacked it by my garage door. I said a quick, ’Thank you, Lord!’ for whoever the thoughtful one was, and will pass the wood on to a friend who heats with wood. (I don’t have a fireplace or woodstove.) I got another object lesson about doing things for others! Now, I want to do something for somebody without receiving thanks or credit, so I can keep that spirit of blessing going. How about you?
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Jeff Symonds