You all know what this is. Every kid looks at this and knows what is going to win. Rock, Paper, Scissors. Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, Rock beats scissors.
It all seems so sure, who is bigger and what looks stronger. And yet appearances can be deceiving. From these things, what is going to last, what is going to endure?. The rock will last, but what good is that? It will never grow, and it will never become anything other than what it is. That rock is dead. And it will never pass anything on.
Enter a little tree that taught me something, because I fought against the tree and lost.
Some years back, we were up north and my wife commented how nice it would be to have one of those lovely maple trees in our yard. Having just bought two trees that summer, we were well aware how much trees could cost. My wife said, Look this is Canada, you have trees everywhere, who is going to miss just one?
Coming back south on the 400, my wife finally convinced me. I stopped the car at one of those points where the highway cuts through a seam of bedrock, climbed up with the traffic whizzing by, to look for my intended prey. A tiny little tree, sprouting just a few small maple leaves. With people in the cars passing by gawking at me, I was already a little self conscious and no matter what anybody said, I still felt as if I was stealing. Still, getting a tree a la carte was cheaper than paying $150.00 at a landscaping centre. I bent down and grasped firmly around the tiny trunk, and pulled. Nothing happened. It was stuck. I pulled harder. Still nothing. Starting to break a sweat, I looked down and saw my wife and kids signalling me, hurry up, hurry up! I bent down and pulled again, this time with all of my strength.
After fussing and pulling for about a minute it became clear to me that this tiny little tree, was not going anywhere. This was a David and Goliath battle, and Goliath was losing. What was more of a puzzle, I could clearly see that apart from a bit of lichen and moss there was little soil, not even an inch. What could this little tree be bedded in? There was clearly more to this picture, than met the eye.
Finally much later, I had only managed to partially dislodge some of the roots and saw what had happened. The tiny tree had sent out tiny tendrils that had found their way into the fissure of the bedrock, extending about twenty feet around the tree in all directions. Pull as I might, I could not uproot this tree. There was in fact, about a hundred times more to this tree than had met the eye, and it was all underground. I had to admit defeat.
When I went home, I thought long and hard about this little tree that had taught me some big lessons. Why had it managed to endure? Why could I not dislodge it? This little tree had physical endurance because the biggest part was not what you saw, it was what was hidden. It had spiritual endurance.
It was connected to something bigger than itself. While it was horizontally rooted, it was vertically oriented. It knew from whence it had come and where it was going. It saw buried within itself as the image of its Maker, and the tree it was destined to become.
This little tree, would not be moved... because I was fighting with a vision of Eternity.
And it will go on to bear the burden of the snows and the buffeting of the rain. It will withstand the ravening of the seasons, and in the end, even when it dies it will pass something on. This little tree was not alone, it was grounded in its vital source and that is why it endured.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
Psalm 1 KJV