I promise, I’m almost done talking trees. (If you missed it, this is the final installment of my tree series, which I didn’t intend to be a series in the first place, but I’m really just incapable of being concise. Therefore, it is now a series. I promise I’m done talking about trees after this. Really. Unless I think of something else to say about them.)
In my first post, I talked about having Deep Roots. There, I discussed exquisite Biblical imagery about a healthy, deeply rooted tree that is meant to help us understand the beauty of a believer’s intimate relationship with God. Yesterday, I posted about Getting All Tangled Up, wherein I talked about growing together in a community of believers and the strength that comes from it.
Today is about having no roots and having no community. It’s about being the average, American, self-proclaimed Christian. This encompasses varying levels of professing belief. Maybe they go to church a lot, maybe occasionally, maybe never. Maybe they appreciate Facebook memes about God and re-post them sometimes. Maybe they wear a cross necklace or have a Jesus tattoo. Maybe they try really hard to be nice and good. Maybe they don’t try that hard because they figure Jesus was all about forgiveness anyway. Maybe they really like Jesus, or at least what they know of Him, but they really don’t like church-going Christians, or at least what they know of them. Maybe they’re really believers, maybe they’re not. The point is that this person would, if asked, identify him- or herself as a Christian. And the point is that this person is missing the point.
This person is a Christmas tree.
In a puddle of water.
Trying really hard to be pretty and to get people to like her.
And generally, people do. She wears pretty lights, heart-felt ornaments, eye-catching garland, and is crowned by a bright star. People must like that, or they wouldn’t decorate trees every year! Oh, and don’t forget the pretty wrapped presents beneath her branches! She has gifts to give her family and friends because she loves them. She worked really hard to carefully select, wrap, and arrange the presents. All of this makes her look beautiful, and it generally makes most people like her.
Unfortunately, those beautiful presents are masking a deadly secret: This beautiful tree has no roots, and no REAL source of life! She is dying. She’s putting on makeup every day, clasping her cross necklace around her neck, and smiling like everything is okay.
But it’s not. First of all, most of what’s beautiful about her is external. She is not bearing fruit; she is merely adorned with material things. Even worse, she has no roots, and she is trying to survive in a puddle of water that, frankly, is too easily forgotten about for days after it’s gone dry. Her puddle might be church. Or a relationship. Or general “spiritual” acknowledgements. Maybe even a devotional book. Or a self-help book. Or a white-knuckled dedication to positive thinking. Ultimately, though, it’s deferring the inevitable and keeping her just barely hanging on.
So, at some point, she’s going to start to wilt. And turn brown. And stink. Unless there’s a major intervention.
I know a lot of Christmas trees. I recognize them because I’ve been one, and so God is beginning to break my heart for them. They don’t know that there is so much more to life. That there is abundant life to be had! It’s available for you and for me, and it ain’t no puddle that’s gonna dry up.
Go, seek out Living Water. Then you won’t have to keep hoping your sad little puddle won’t dry up. That puddle’s not really working anyway, is it?
And for the cynics: You CAN re-plant a Christmas tree. So there. 🙂