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Little Deeds, Big Trees

February 3rd, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 11: 30 (NLT)

30 The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life;
      a wise person wins friends.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

My childhood was pretty much a euphoric experience.  As you’ve probably read before, my family was no stranger to working with our hands.  We labored tirelessly behind the noble leadership of my dad at our commercial lawn care business.  We mowed, weedeated, and raked leaves with the speed and efficiency of any professional athlete out there . . . but as it turns out, they’re not exactly selling PSL’s for grass mowing Superbowls.  However, we were certainly proud of the job that we performed.

But our overactive familial sense of tackling large tasks didn’t stop at work . . . it definitely followed us home too.  To put it mildly, we never attempted anything small.  While other, less-ambitious people were hiring out professionals to come build their brick patios, we were rummaging through random demolition sites collecting old, used brick.  We then meticulously chipped off all of the mortar by hand and used the old brick to build our patio ourselves.  Yep, nothing easy in the old Driver household.

We attempted things that we had no business trying . . . like repainting the entire outside of our house over Christmas break . . . or designing and installing our own roof on the backside of our equipment storage building . . . or planting our own small fruit orchard in the side yard.  Needless, life was never boring.

We had a pretty sizable yard at home that was adjacent to another large field. When I was about twelve years old or so, Dad decided that we were going to plant a row of pine trees down that fence line.  We dug holes until we were blue in the face!  Days and days of digging and planting these tiny seedlings seemed so useless in my adolescent mind . . . just another excuse to work hard.

Now that I’m fully mature at the ripe old age of thirty, my journey home has a slightly different perspective.  These days, when I approach my parents’ driveway, my view of the house is completely eclipsed by a towering row of huge pine trees. Those little seedlings that seemed so miniscule and insignificant are now a impenetrable wall of evergreen.  They provide shade for the yard and block the wind from the house.  All in all, that once tiny row of trees is now the defining feature of the entire homestead.

There’s a big truth found in this little anecdote.  Small things that are planted in the right conditions will grow.  Just look at my six-month old daughter and this concept will become abundantly apparent.  My little angel who once could be easily cradled in my one free hand is now holding her own bottle and sitting up in the bathtub.  She’s definitely a “two-hander” these days.

This passage expounds upon this timeless truth.  “The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life . . . “  Little seeds become huge trees and little deeds become life-defining attributes.  What goes into the ground miniscule emerges large and fruitful.  Such is true of the little good things that we do in life.  Life isn’t comprised of a few large moments; it is the perpetual linking of millions of tiny decisions . . . little seeds. When they all come together, then the consistency and effectiveness of one’s life is suddenly easily seen . . . but it never starts that way.  It always begins in miniature.

Such is also the nature of relationships.  The little things matter.  That’s why I haul students all over the country each year . . . not just for the sightseeing or the event at hand, but more so for the opportunities for little moments to happen.  These little moments are the seeds of significant relationships that lead to strength and accountability in life.  There is wisdom in building authentic relationships; hence, the proverbial truth that says, “a wise person wins friends.”  Friendship is also comprised of miniature moments that link together to produce meaningful lifetimes.

I guess Dad knew what he was doing . . . as usual.  Every shovelful of dirt and bead of sweat that seemed so huge  in my childish mindset are now dwarfed by an unbelievably ominous tree line.

Such is the nature of our good deeds.  Plant them small and many.  Over time, you’ll find shade beneath their branches and they will become the defining feature of your spiritual homestead.  They may even block that “wind inheritance” that we talked about yesterday.  Nice.








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