A life lesson from a maple tree.
"Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom." (Psalm 90:12 NLT)
Today was my last observational trip to the spot, and I was considering a few things: our responsibility to Creation...and the end of the world. As many of you probably know, a well-meaning group of Christians predicted that Christ would return yesterday, May 21, 2011 (apparently at 6:00PM EST). As I was driving through Marion at 6:01, I was relatively certain that God decided to wait on the rapture. But yesterday morning, as I was doing devotions, I honestly thought about what would happen if He did return that evening. Should I say some confessions? Donate my bank account? Simply worship? End of the world talk does bring with it a reminder of urgency, even if our faith states that no one will know when Christ will return.
In Sunday school, my friend Gretchen shared some words of wisdom that had been passed along to her: "God has a plan for your life, and so does the enemy." If we aren't spending our time and energy living for God, our time is directed elsewhere, and Satan does an excellent job of distracting us. Thus, often when trial, famine, or frustration comes, we are unprepared and the flesh gives in. We complain, cover up the problem, and fail to worship. We forget that our days are numbered, and we live as if our treasures are of this world. Although none of us knows when Jesus will return, we must always be prepared because none of us know when Jesus will return.
I was reminded of the strategy of preparedness today, as I walked among thousands of fallen maple tree "propellers"--the seedlings of a few maple trees out at the spot. As a child, I would throw them into the air then pick them up and dissect them. Years later, I now know that the great number of seeds are dropped to ensure that, despite falling on bad soil or into the hands of curious children, a few will survive and new maple trees will sprout up next year. The maple trees have a God-given life-insurance policy.
Not knowing when Christ will return often gives ground to fear, and--in the grand scheme of things--it should. But because we have blessed assurance that the Kingdom of God is now, we should live with joy as if eternity is before us, confessing and repenting, joining alongside the Body, and worshipping in every action, word, and thought. We should, like the maple tree, sink our roots deep and spread seeds far and wide, ensuring that every person who encounters us walks away having seen the face of God.