Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Are You a Tree of Life?

"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; And he that is wise winneth souls."- Proverbs 11:30 (ASV)

One day a father was visiting his daughter at her new home when she began to complain about life, saying how hard it was and how she was just about ready to give up completely. The father, who was a chef, took his daughter by the hand and led her into the kitchen where he got out three items-carrots, eggs, and coffee. The father, without saying a word, took all three and put them in seperate pots which themselves sat over the burners on high heat. The father never said a word and only smiled while his daughter grew more and more impatient by the minute. Finally, after about twenty minutes, he took the carrots out of the water and put them on a plate. He then did the same with the eggs, after removing their shells. He then poured the coffee through a filter and into a mug. He asked his daughter what she saw.

"I don't see anything but carrots, eggs, and coffee." She responded, exasperated. The father then instructed her to feel the carrots. They were soft. Then the eggs, they were hard. Finally, he asked her to taste the coffee. She smiled as she enjoyed it's rich flavor. "But what's the point?" She asked.

The father began to explain, "Each one of these items went through the same adversity; boiling water. But the carrots that went in strong and firm, are now soft and mushy. The eggs that went in so fragile are now hard. But the coffee responded differently. It went through the same adversity, but rather than change itself, it changed the environment around it."

Wouldn't it be great if we could go through adversity and rather than be changed by it, we change the environment for the better? People are naturally drawn to an upbeat, positive person. They flock around the wise. People follow leaders most naturally because of the wisdom they own, and the charisma they exude. We have the ability to be able to be those leaders. God gave us the wisdom in the book of Proverbs. Many of life's challenges and hardships are addressed within it's pages. The task for us is learning and applying those lessons to our daily lives.

Everyone knows that an apple tree produces apples which is food for our body. Proverbs 11:30 tells us that if we can learn to become righteous (like Christ), people will be drawn to us for the nourishment our examples provide them spiritually. Simply put, they will follow us if we are wise.

But this doesn't come easy. We first have to be able to produce the fruit. People cannot benefit from the example we don't provide. We have to be able to change the environment around us despite the adversity that we face. That comes from gaining wisdom in life.

A wise man once said, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter.” This is the sole purpose of the Book of Proverbs. We reflect on it to learn from it, imitate it's wisdom to be wise ourselves, and try to avoid learning through the bitter method of learning the hard way. When we are able to keep true to that simple equation, we are able to move out of the role of the carrot or the egg, which is changed by it's surroundings, and we can become the coffee. Something that changes it's surroundings in difficult times. When we do this we will truly be like the Tree of Life, growing our influence that we can continue to win souls for Christ.

So the question is, are you the carrots, the eggs, or the coffee? Are you going to let life's difficulties change you, or are you willing to meet the challenge of becoming the "Tree of Life" for those around you, so that they may one day know Christ through your example in difficult times?

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