When you reached a popular milestone in life didn’t someone inevitably ask, “Well, how does it feel to be (fill in the blank)?” Perhaps it was your 18th, 30th, or 40th birthday – did you feel differently on your birthday than the day before? How about your confirmation day when you affirmed your faith in front of the church – was it your expectation that you would somehow enter into this greater sense of spiritual enlightenment? Did you think you should feel different somehow?
I know I didn’t feel any differently, but I did pause to think, “What now?”
If you are older than 40 years of age, you may remember the infamous Barbara Walter’s interview of Katherine Hepburn in 1981. Katherine Hepburn had described herself as a very strong tree in her old age to which Barbara Walter’s asked, “What kind of tree are you?” Ms. Hepburn’s answer was an oak tree rather than an elm tree so as to avoid contracting Dutch elm disease.
What kind of tree am I? An oak, an elm, or maybe a maple?
There are probably over 100,000 types of trees around the world. Trees are common, average, nothing particularly unique (unless you are an arborist). Yet, there is one tree that stands out. The common, ordinary tree which hung our Savior, Jesus Christ.
“Who his own self-bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes (you) were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 (KJV)
For some people, a tree may be a run-of-the-mill kind of thing; but for those who belong to Christ, it is the tree of life. We may be feeling average when others ask if we feel any differently when we come to those milestones in life, but we need to take heart. Average trees or as in 2 Corinthians 4:7 describes us as, “jars of clay,” however, we are ordinarily described, God uses the common, mundane things of the world to show His immense power and goodness.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)
As a Christian, I know I have been given my mind, gifts, talents, and skills from God to exhibit His power, wisdom, creativity, and beauty. It is when I use those things that originated from God to shine the light of Jesus Christ that I feel different. God used a common tree to give us His grace – the tree of life.
What kind of tree are you?
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)