HE GREW THE TREE
I was on my way to a camping/fishing trip when I saw it. I’ve seen it lots of times. It still bothers me. A bulldozer knocking over a tree. We have to have more convenience stores, banks, and shopping centers don’t we?
What amazes me is to see land cleared of trees for new housing developments. People that buy the houses then spend lots of money on small trees to plant in their yards that will take years to grow as big as those that were once there.
As I kept driving, I tried to listen to what the guy on the radio was saying. It didn’t do any good. I kept seeing the bulldozer pushing over the tree. Why couldn’t I get it out of my mind? It was just a tree!
As a kid I would spend hours in the woods. I still do. I hike, I camp, I look for mushrooms and shed deer antlers. I hunt squirrels and turkeys. I sit in a tree stand waiting for deer to walk by.
What was that the guy on the radio just said? “God created the heavens and the earth.” He created all the trees too! I know that if my home is shaded by trees, my air conditioner won’t run as much and I’ll save money on electricity. Cleaning the gutter and raking leaves is a small price to pay. A single tree is valued at over $13,000 during its lifetime for just the oxygen it provides.
Trees are also important to wildlife. Birds and squirrels build nests, turkeys roost, deer rub, woodpeckers peck. They feed on nuts, berries and insects trees provide.
As I pull into my camping spot a song is playing on the radio. I look around at all the trees and listen to the words.
Then He made a green stem, gave it leaves and then
Gave it sunshine, and rain, and sheltered it with moss
Then He grew the tree, that He knew would be
Used to make the old rugged cross
Nothing took his life with love he gave it
He was crucified on a tree that he created
He grew the tree that he knew would be
Used to make the old rugged cross
I smile, look up and say thank you. That was the most important tree of all!
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University concluded that “huggers are happier.” Another study linked people that hug with a diminished rate of sickness. So greet people you know with a hug and experience the joy and better health of showing people that they matter to you and to God. That’s how Jesus and the disciples greeted others.
Also, don’t be afraid to step outside your circle of friends you know at Cowboy Church and introduce yourself to someone you don’t know. It doesn’t have to be a visitor either. It could be someone you see every Sunday but have never taken the time to introduce yourself. Stick out your hand, smile and make them feel welcome. Then next Sunday go back and shake their hand again. A hug might come in time but if it doesn’t that’s O.K. as long as they feel welcome. Your welcome greeting may be huge to them. They may be looking for a friend; they may be looking for a church home or they may be looking for Jesus. John 15:12 says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
You may never know the difference you made in someone’s life by just taking the time to make them feel welcome at Cowboy Church. It can change their life and your life for the better. A handshake is great but a hug is powerful. It’s also contagious in a good way.
The greatest welcome greeting has yet to be issued. It will come from Jesus himself to you someday. Matthew 25:23 says, “You did well. You are a good and loyal servant. Because you were loyal with small things, I will let you care for much greater things. Come and share my joy with me”. Can you imagine getting a hug from Jesus when he welcomes you home?