Psalm 1:1- 3 “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
Psalm 145:4 One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
Genesis 12: 2 “… I will bless you;…and you will be a blessing.
I’m a tree hugger. Or maybe I should say, I’m a tree lover! My family also knows this about me. When visiting a garden nursery I usually find myself gravitating toward the tree section. When traveling, I am always checking out the various species of the local trees. When we purchased a farm 5 years ago, my instant love for the property was primarily due to the stately 300 year old western maple found on the far corner of the property. Since living here, I’ve planted over 100 trees and I’m trying to talk my wife into starting a hazel nut orchard. I like trees!
Jewish history, including Biblical history, has a lot to say about trees. In the Bible, there are over over 100 verses that reference trees. God even used a tree as the supporting cast member to our salvation…Ok, maybe that is stretching the tree topic a bit too far!
One of my favorite stories about trees comes from the Haggadah, a collection of Jewish legends from the years 200 BC to 200 AD. The story goes like this:
One day, Honi the seer was walking on the road and saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked the man, “How long will it take for this tree to bear fruit?” The man replied, “Seventy years.”
Honi then asked, “Do you think you will live another seventy years and eat the fruit of this tree?”
The man answered, “Probably not. However, when I was born into this world, I found many carob trees planted by my father and grandfather. Just as they planted trees for me, I am planting trees for my children and grandchildren so they will be able to eat the fruit of these trees.”
Like the story of Honi and the carob tree, what we plant in our hearts and lives has the potential to bless the generations that follow. When we make the decision to follow Christ, we change the course of our future, and as well, the road for those who follow us. When we turn from selfish ways of living and instead live our lives according to God’s word, just as a tree that produces good fruit, it blesses both the present and future generations. When we make God honoring decisions, it not only blesses us, but the lives of the generations that follow. How many of us have been blessed by God honoring decisions that previous generations have made?
Our society teaches us to think about the immediate and the here and now. Yet God’s purposes and plans are always greater than any individual person, and will continue from generation to generation. We think in terms of days and weeks, God thinks about decades and generations!
Every time I see a fruitful or stately tree, I am reminded that the decisions I make today, not only impact my tomorrows, but the tomorrows of the generations that follow. May we plant in such a way that the harvest of our lives continues into the 3rd and 4th generation.
Prayer: Lord, help me hide your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. May I delight in your Word and meditate on it day and night. I want to be like a tree planted by streams of water, which will yield its fruit in season, so that whatever I do will prosper, that those around me and the generations that follow may be blessed.