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A Tale of Two “Springs”

June 29th, 2008

Focus Text: Psalm 1: 3 (NKJV)

3 He 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. 

Stop and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

In all the madness of building our house three years ago, the condition of the yard got lost in the shuffle.  Thus, we had a beautiful new home with an absolute disaster area for a lawn.  Bad dirt.  No trees.  Barely any grass.  It was a nightmare.

So I began the long process of toiling against nature . . . and at times, losing the battle dishonorably.  I rented backhoes and Bobcats (the big machines, not the animals) to shape and reshape my back yard over and over again.  I bought sod and (along with some now lifelong friends) painstakingly covered every square inch of my front yard.  I dug holes, moved rocks, spread seed, watered, raked– you name it, I did it.  I was so gung ho that John Deere himself stopped by one day to see what the commotion was all about.

In my quest to win the “Yard Warrior of the Year” Award, I came across an interesting phenomenon in my back yard.  My good friend, Pastor Andrew, told me that this entire area of Mt. Juliet is riddled with caves and underground caverns.  Well, I didn’t find a cave, but I did find evidence of this subterranean activity.  I found an underground spring.

You wouldn’t notice it by just looking, but there is an area of my yard that rarely ever dries up.  I discovered it while mowing and getting stuck in the mud.  Needless to say, I wasn’t very excited about it at first.  I figured it had just rained hard and that it would dry up eventually . . . nope.  To deal with the wet area, Laura and I decided to plant a certain kind of tree that would do well around a consistent water source.  Today, that tree is the most successful growing thing on my property.  Why?  That’s easy: it’s planted near the water.

When you’re a kid, no one wants to be a tree in the school play.  If you’re the tree, that means you must not be good at memorizing lines or that your teachers worry that you might blow chunks on the stage when you get nervous.  But Biblically, being the tree isn’t so bad.  Psalm 1: 3 says that the person who delights themselves in God’s Word “shall be like a tree.”  By complete coincidence, this tree discussion is something you may recognize from last week’s podcast (www.lifeassembly.com/youthcast).  

The kinds of trees that God wants us to be aren’t just any old deciduous dandies.  Neither are they random evergreens that tower high above the earth near the west coast.  No, God’s “true tree intentions” for us are for one purpose and one purpose only: to grow fruit.  We are . . . (drumroll please) . . . fruit trees.

So, if we break this verse down in simple terms, it would start with something like this: be the tree and get planted.  Planting is the key to tree success.  Have you ever seen a thirty-five foot tall tree just randomly growing on asphalt?  Doubtful.  That’s because getting planted has to do with digging in and getting your roots established in the right kind of soil.  That’s what this scripture is referring to: a well-hydrated place to be planted.  This place is the lifestyle of absorbing God’s word into your “personal root system.”  That’s the first “spring.”

Okay, okay, so you’re planted now, right?  Then why aren’t you seeing any fruit yet?  Ah, my friend, now you join with the millions of little trees out there who are disappointed in the emptiness of their branches.  You see, fruit only comes when the tree stays planted near the water and lives through various seasons.  If I uproot a new tree and move it everyday, I’ll have extra firewood in no time.  Staying planted is important, but so is living in the seasons.

The most difficult thing about seasons is that we have absolutely no control over them.  You can sit around and wish all day that Fall will get here sooner (which I often do– Go Vols!), but that doesn’t change anything.  You just have to wait.  However, many trees get impatient and decide that either they’re incapable of producing good fruit or that they can speed up the process by relocating their root systems instead of staying put in the season that God has placed them.  Thus, their branches become dangerously brittle and they inadvertently miss the “Spring” season that was just around the corner.  Don’t bail out of your season; stay planted and keep drinking!

You can study up on all the meanings of “fruit” in the Bible (and I hope you do,) but none of that will matter if you don’t find your “springs.”  God has given you that perfect place right in your own backyard.  Dig in and feel your roots begin to soak up everything God will continually say to you through His Word and His Spirit.  Be patient and let the seasons change around you.  Then, one day, you’ll look up and notice that you truly are producing the kind of fruit that God said you would.  And that’s when your leaves don’t “wither” and whatever you do will “prosper.”  Nice.

 

 

 

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