“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.”
It may look like an old dead stick, but you’d be wrong.
(Except technically it is an old dead stick. Just hold onto your hat for a bit and I’ll explain myself .)
I was exploring a wee island on a recent camping trip when I came across this little specimen – a dead tree trunk. Normally, dead tree trunks aren’t a cause for celebration. But this one was!
(Stop looking at me in that tone of voice. I’m getting to the good part, honest.)
This particular old dead stick was full of life!
I crouched down to get a better look and see if my eyes were deceiving me. But no, they weren’t.
There were at least five distinct species of lichens or mosses on this old dead stick.
If you ask me, that’s a lot of life!
Out of the ruins of what was once a green and leafy structure was springing forth a plethora of new and vibrant life forms, completely different to the original.
And of course I saw a lesson in it.
Jesus taught some really radical things back in the day. Love your enemies. Turn the other cheek. Show respect to those in authority.
And die, that you might live.
I’m sure His audience thought it as strange as it sounds right now in real time in our modern era.
Die, so you can live.
See, in God’s kingdom, our lives will take on new forms, new directions, new significance. But only as we learn to give up our own agendas to embrace God’s best plan for us.
It means we may not get to grow into a towering birch tree on an island somewhere. Rather, allowing God to direct us may mean our small ideas and dreams of what we could do for Him may need to die in order that His dream for us can take over.
This tree had visions of giving shade to lovers or reaching to the stars.
What it got was small. Puny even. Most people would miss it entirely.
But one would stop. Crouch. Admire and worship the Creator for producing such intricate, delicate, and diverse beauty in what was once a birch tree.
Are your dreams dying?
Are you mourning the loss of what could have been?
Crouch. (Kneel is better.)
Be amazed at what life God can bring about as you learn to embrace His plan over your own.
It will be beautiful.
Wait for God to bring life in unexpected places with me?
Father, we sometimes get caught up in our own agenda as when You are longing to bring something different and unexpected into our lives! Remind us that Your ways are better, Your life is the only one that is truly life. Amen.