Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Object Lessons…The Backyard Tree

submitted by Pastor Van
The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  Planted in the house of the LORD, They will flourish in the courts of our God.  They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green, to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.  Psalms 92:12-15

We planted the tree not long after we moved into the new house.  Just off the patio seemed a good place to provide cover from the setting sun in the evenings.  It had a long way to go to do that.  At that time, it was just a skinny sapling that got in the way of our backyard play and slowed down the mowing of the yard.
Over the years the small sapling began to take root and grow.  I remember first noticing its development because my mother made me sweep leaves that off the patio!  It seemed like a lot of leaves for such a small tree.  We watered and nurtured the sapling so it could get a good start.  The next summer, there was a bit of shade that appeared on the patio in the evening.  It was a welcome relief from the Oklahoma sun.
By the next year we could hang from some of the branches or use the trunk for cover when chasing around the yard with cousins.  The shade was now reaching into the house and made the den a little cooler.  Sometimes, when I needed to think, I would sit with my back against the trunk and ponder the next step in my young life.
Over the years that followed, my siblings and I were off to college and beginning families of our own.  It was on one return trip that I looked with great surprise at the backyard tree.  Its branches were big and the limbs reached far across the yard.  I took my daughter and placed her on a lower limb up against the trunk and took her picture.  Dad came out and we found an old tire to make the first swing.  That old tire was there so long the rope became a part of the tree.  Hours were spent with family climbing and swinging in the backyard tree.  And yes, a major job every fall was cleaning up the leaves.
In many ways that tree symbolized the growth of the family inside the house.  Each one of us was growing slowly each year.  Early on, we required nurturing and care that would get us started.  At first we could not support much more than ourselves.  We were not capable of giving much protection to others.  But over the years we began to spread out and perform the purposes we were born for.  From season to season we changed just as the tree.
Years later standing below the tree, I look into the expanse of its limbs as I place a grandson in the branches.  The tree is strong and large and the bark is smooth where the swing has rubbed.  My daughter gets her camera to take a picture.  I look around and realize it’s time to pick up the leaves again. 

The backyard tree is something special in my life.  It has served its purpose well and can always be trusted.  Maybe that is why God used the tree to describe a godly man in Psalm 1 which we will make our Scripture to Claim: He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psalms 1:3

Devotional Archive