On Saturday, Carol and I took a drive a view the fall colors in New England. We made a stop at Kent Falls State Park in Connecticut. We saw a tree that was a fitting illustration of life.
The tree appears to have a good start and a solid base. At first, it grew straight and true. But then, whether because of a knot that developed, a storm with strong winds that pushed on the tree, or difficult seasons, the tree began to grow in a crooked path. Perhaps a few branches broke off as it continued upwards. Regardless of the factors, the tree kept its focus on the sun and grew upwards producing beauty and leaves.
As Christ followers, we have to make sure we are planted by streams of living water (Psalm 1). We submit to the master grower and allow him to prune unnecessary branches from our lives and correct crooked limbs so we can grow upwards and become fruitful (John 15:1-11). As we keep our focus upwards towards the Son and gain nourishment from his Word, we too can become strong, fruitful, and produce beauty in our world.
Psalm 1:1–6 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
John 15:1–8 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.