The first thing a speaker or writer wishes to do is to get the attention of the audience, or reader … thus, a statement like this: Are you a tree?

One of the things we learn early in our education is about trees. Trees have always been with us. Many trees live to be very old. We are told the oldest trees in the world are actually in the California, Nevada area. The Great Bristlecone Pine trees are said to be 5,000 years old! 

I guess that many trees in our country have lived long enough to watch us come from the earliest days of the Pilgrims landing in Plymouth, to the moon landing in 1969! A lot has happened since then.  One passage in the book of Psalms makes a statement about godly men and women. Psalm 1:2-3 “… his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in it season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (NKJV)  

As you and I make our way through the maze of events and world changes, the easy way for us to live would be to simply “go with the flow.”

Whatever the latest fad is, we take part. Whatever the “enlightened” say must be right, even if it flies in the face of what the greatest book of wisdom ever written says. Those who flow freely downstream are not trees planted by the rivers of water; they are “driftwood.” 

Leaders who bring people into freedom are people who have “deep roots.” Our forefathers who came to this new land came with convictions and a confidence that God was leading them. 

Their determination to find the freedom they longed for outweighed the fear of the present bitter and cruel circumstances they endured as they established a stronghold in this land we call America.

We have just celebrated Independence Day. What we have really celebrated is a remembrance of some serious “trees!”

These men and women stood tall and their roots have grown deep. As we face challenges from every angle to reverse the course of our great nation, might I suggest that we look to the God of our forefathers, repent of our own self-righteousness, and then stand. Stand tall. Stand with those who have stood before us. May we refuse to bow at the alter of anything other than Almighty God.  

Let’s be trees! Tall, deeply rooted, giving shade to the weary and fruit to the hungry! Trees will still be standing when the driftwood has gone back to dust. “The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands ... for you shall go out with joy”! Isaiah 55:12 (NKJV)

The Rev. John Abbey is pastor of Bethel Church in Killeen.

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