Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Do Pine Trees Lament Over the Limbs that they Lose?

On a particular Saturday, if you had driven past my house, you may have seen me, as some of us country folk say, booting up in my yard. In preparing to cut my grass, I was bending over (to translate for you city slickers) picking up little limbs and pine cones. I have a few, pretty massive, pine trees in my yard, and every week they deposit little limbs and pine cones that I try to pick up before I start with the grass cutting.
I've done that a million times in my life over the years, but for some particular reason on this day, I stood up from my bending over to look up to the top of one of those trees. The lowest branches are probably 20 feet up. I noticed how far those little limbs and pine cones had to fall to hit the ground. Then I wondered, if those trees had feelings, how would they feel about constantly losing those little limbs and pine cones. Would they feel remorse over the sight of what was once part of them now lying on the ground? Would the trees talk among themselves giving their condolences over their losses. I doubt it.
I would imagine that if those trees could think and feel, they'd think about their Creator, and feel ok about the process of loss that He built into them. You see, it is healthy for those trees to lose the little limbs and pine cones. Every one of those limbs I picked up were dead. As long as they were hanging on, they were adding weight but contributing nothing to its growth. So the Lord sent a wind just strong enough the sway the tree for it to lose those limbs. And the seed of that pine tree is in that cone. So no knew pine tree would grow if one first didn't lose a cone.
Of course if you've ever read any of my posts, then you know this is really not about pine trees. It's about you and me. I don't know about you, but I often lament over the little limbs and pine cones I lose in my life. Of course not all the losses in my life have been little, but I have even moped and groaned over little losses that seemed huge to me at the time. But I've had to learn, and still learning, that with God, loss is a part of growth. In God's kingdom, when we lose we actually gain. Whether it has been people, places or things, I can look back now and see how God has sent winds of circumstance and change just strong enough to remove what was dead weight in my life, as well as those that needed to be deposited somewhere else to grow.
Look my friend, if you are struggling with some little limbs and pine cones you've lost in your life, just think of a pine tree. Then remember what Jesus said... "Every branch in me that bears no fruit he takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, he prunes it, that it may bring forth more fruit." (John 15 15:2). The Lord loves you, and He's not shaking your tree to hurt you. He's not taking things away to punish you. He wants you to grow and the good things in your life to multiply. Both take time, and time takes faith. He cares about you more than any pine tree, and the Lord never fails!

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