Trees are essential to our lives for several reasons. They provide us with oxygen, food, medicine, tools and shelter. Without trees, life as we know it would not exist. Believe it or not, trees are also essential in our relationship with God. In fact, the story of God’s great love for us is the story of three trees.
The Three Trees
Once upon a mountain top, three trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: “I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I’ll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!”
The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it’s way to the ocean. “I want to be travelling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I’ll be the strongest ship in the world!”
The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. “I don’t want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me they’ll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.”
Years passed. The rain came, the sun shone and the little trees grew tall. One day three wood cutters climbed the mountain. The first wood cutter looked at the first tree and said,”This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining axe, the first tree fell. “Now I shall make a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!” the first tree said.
The second wood cutter looked at the second tree and said, “This tree is strong. It’s perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining axe, the second tree fell. “Now I shall sail mighty waters!” thought the second tree. “I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!”
The third tree felt her heart sink when the last wood cutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the wood cutter never even looked up. “Any kind of tree will do for me” he muttered. With a swoop of his shining axe, the third tree fell.
The first tree rejoiced when the wood cutter brought her to a carpenter’s shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, or treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.
The second tree smiled when the wood cutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and awed int a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river, instead she was taken to a little lake.
The third tree was confused when the wood cutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumber yard. “What happened?” The once tall tree wondered. “All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God…”
Many days and night passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box.
“I wish I could make a cradle for him,” her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. “This manger is beautiful,” she said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.
One evening a tired traveller and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveller fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and a thrashing storm arose. ‘The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and the rain. The tired man awoke. He stood up, and the storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.
One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her breams were yanked from the forgotten wood pile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man’s hand to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God’s love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.
Thought for the Week
As your thought for the week, the next time you feel down because you didn’t get what you wanted, sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better for you.