Submitted by Pastor Julie Sanders, Tarkio/Westboro United Methodist Churches
A long time ago, there lived a wise man. One spring day, while on a walk, he noticed a very old man planting a tree. The wise man asked, “Excuse me sir, but how long does it take for this tree to bear fruit?” The man replied, “In about twenty years, this tree will produce fruit good enough to eat.” “Do you think that you will live twenty more years and be able to eat the fruit,” asked the wise man. The man replied, “Oh no! But I remember enjoying fruit as a young boy from the trees planted by those that came before me and I would like my children and grandchildren to enjoy fruit someday.”
Twenty years later, the wise man noticed a man picking fruit from a tree and he asked, “Did you plant this tree?” The man answered, “No, my great-grandfather planted it twenty years ago.” The wise man remembered the words of the old man. “I remember enjoying fruit as a young boy from the trees planted by those that came before me and I would like my children and grandchildren to enjoy fruit someday.”
This is an old legend adapted from the Babylonian Talmud but there is a great truth seen in it; what we plant today comes to fruition tomorrow. What this means is what we do, how we live, what we value; all of these things are left for those that come after us. What we plant, what we build, what we invest in are the things that will be here for our children and our grandchildren. This old legend begs a question: what kind of trees have you planted in your life? If you looked at your life, if you looked at the things that you invested in, the things that you built, what will be around for your children?
Many will answer this with, “I have worked hard building a house, and I have acquired land.” Many have quite a collection of nice things to pass on once they are gone. Perhaps you have done well for yourself, and you will leave a life worth of savings, or maybe even some stocks and bonds, or a thriving business or farm. Maybe we even worked hard to install education, values, performance, character in our children. All of these are wonderful things, but what about a faith? Have we invested in our faith, like we invest in our finances, our job, our performance, our business? The question remains, what kind of faith tree have we planted? A Redwood, or Baobab, which is fire resistant tree, or maybe even an oak tree. Hopefully your tree isn’t more like a dwarf willow, which is the smallest tree in the world at a whopping 6 cm tall. But regardless of what you have planted up until this point, you can still choose to plant a beautiful tree of faith. A tree that your children, and grandchildren will enjoy the fruit of someday. At least, that is my prayer for each of us, that we have the courage to plant a strong, tree of faith. A tree that will stand for years to come. Amen.