Thursday, August 03, 2006

Avocado Tree

Every morning when I walk into my third grade classroom I pass this huge avocado tree. It sits right outside my front door so I see it many times a day. That photo is the angle looking at it from outside my room. I've often said that if I could have any fruit-yielding tree in the world planted in my backyard I would pick an avocado tree. I like avocados. I adore guacamole. I've made my share of batches of guacamole from the avocados off this very tree too, but my love for this particular avocado tree goes way beyond its fruit. For me, it's beauty and fortitude are constant reminders of God's ability to create.

Sometimes I just stare at this tree and I stand in awe of its size. I often wonder how old this tree is and I think about its durability and what it has had to withstand in order to develop into what it is now. I wish I knew the exact date this tree was planted. I wish I had a picture of the young sapling on that first day; that way I could see tangable proof of its progress.

When I look at this avocado tree I think of my own spiritual walk. I think of the very first Psalm:

Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel
of the wicked . . . .
He is like a tree planted by streams
of water
which yields its fruit in season
--Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)

I love the way Eugene H. Peterson The Message translates Psalm 1. It says:

How well God must like you--
you don't hang out at Sin Saloon,
you don't slink along Dead-End Road,
you don't go to Smart-Mouth College.

Instead you thrill to GOD'S Word,
you chew on Scripture day and night.
You're a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.

Notwithstanding the fact that I graduated magna cum laude from Smart-Mouth College, I so want to be that tree: solid, stable, sturdy, and producing much fruit. My desire is to be so secure that others could climb upon my "branches" and find rest and comfort.

I think about how the apostle Paul had to reprimand the church at Corinth:

"Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn't talk to you as I would to mature Christians. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. I had to feed you with milk and not with solid food, because you couldn't handle anything stronger. And you still aren't ready, for you are still controlled by your own sinful desires."
--1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (New Living).

I first surrendered myself to Jesus Christ on September 22, 1991, coming up on 15 years. After all that time, I so don't want to be that spiritual sapling that Paul talked about, I want to be past the milk stage, I want to be the tree replanted in Eden. Yet, if I can confess, even as I write this, I am sitting here battling my own selfish desires. In this case, it's bloody early in the morning and my kids woke me up sooner than I wanted and now I feel "entitled" to be able to sit down with a cup of coffee and read the Bible, have a quite time, do some writing, and just relax. Ironic isn't it that I seek to be holy and, at the exact same time, can easily fall into the trap of seeing the beautiful children that I so desired as annoyances pulling me away from my interests. I mean the kids need tending to, they need to eat, and a dad should be available to referee bickering at 6:20 in the morning; yet, I hear the words forming in my mind: "Just leave me alone, I'm trying to read the Bible here!"

Perhaps I should have kept going when I was typing out the aforementioned words from 1 Corinthians 3:3 . . .

"Doesn't that prove you are controlled by your own desires?
You are acting like people who don't belong to the LORD."

So yea, when I look at that avocado tree I am aware of God's presence, His goodness, His provision, and, most of all, His ability to grow things. When I am sick of my own lack of progress I can look at that tree and I have proof, that, over time, with the Lord's help, things do indeed develop. Things change. People progress.

On a good day, I look at that tree and I recall the words of the prophet Isaiah promising that God will "give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the LORD has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory." --Isaiah 61:3 (New Living) Then, I embrace those words and realize God has already done that for me.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if we "graduated" the same year?
Dig ya!

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.....The meaning of this parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." Luke 8:5-15

May we all place our seeds on good soil and receive the fruit of the spirit!

-Tania your sister in Christ

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't help but notice that the trunk of the tree looks like a heart. All that is good and which we sow and grow in the name of the Lord, we will find the heart of God.

7:21 AM  

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