Food for Thought: How Like a Tree Are We?
by Ardith Hoff
There is a beautiful poem by May Sarton that sums up what we should all wish for ourselves. It reads as follows: “I would like to believe that when I die that I have given myself away like a tree that sows its seeds every spring and never counts the loss, because it is not loss, it is adding to future life. It is the tree’s way of being. Strongly rooted, perhaps, but spilling out its treasure on the wind.”
I have several soft maple trees near my home. In the spring they drop those seeds that some people call “helicopters" or “whirlybirds” or "whirligigs”. They are shaped like half a propeller or one wing and the wind carries them all over the neighborhood and propels them into my eve troughs. The leaves do not turn pretty colors in the fall and they shed twigs and branches year round. I have never appreciated those trees, but now that I read the poem, I am beginning to see how God designed them to be constantly giving. I see that each thing those trees offers is a gift to the earth if not directly to me. The mature trees provide shade for my car and for me. The seeds plant themselves and sprout and cause new trees to provide new sources of shade. The leaves provide compost for my lawn, and the roots help soak up the excess water after a hard rain. What’s more those trees provide safe homes for birds and squirrels.
This goes to show that even something that has some less-than-attractive features can teach us that God does not make mistakes. Like a tree, there are people whom we might overlook, who also have redeeming qualities. We should look for those qualities in others, and we should look at ourselves to find out what we can give and what we can do to make this a better world for ourselves, and how we can give of ourselves to others.
“Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord's; it is holy to the Lord.” Leviticus 27:30 (ESV)
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand.” I Chronicles 29:14
Let us thank God for his gifts to us, even some of the things we don’t always appreciate. Let us also give back a portion of what we have.