The Shade Tree

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Matthew 9:37–38

Have you ever planted a tree? I have vivid memories of planting a tree with my dad in our backyard when I was very young. At the time, I remember thinking my dad had dug the biggest hole I had ever seen. It was a lot of work for him, and it seemed like an incredible feat of strength to me, considering the hole was as deep as I was tall. 

Despite the work, my dad had a plan. He knew that tree would grow to be very large, providing shade and protection to the west side of our home from the hot afternoon sun. Digging that hole was worth it because someday, that tree would serve a purpose.

In many ways, planting a tree is similar to spiritual growth.

When we faithfully plant the good news of Jesus into the lives of those we encounter, and they accept it, the Word of God takes root in their hearts. As we nurture this growth, God transforms their hearts into something beautiful. And as they mature, they realize their divine purpose and role in God’s Kingdom. And it can all start by just sharing the gospel.

My dad knew he was planting a shade tree. He may not have known that tree would provide shade for countless family picnics, or that its limbs would provide the perfect place to hang his granddaughter’s first swing.

When we share the gospel with the world, we may or may not see the fruits of our labor because spiritual growth takes time. But never forget that God is in control of the process, and he has a plan for the future.

So many people are ready to give their lives to Christ if someone would only show them how. Don’t be surprised if God has chosen you to show another person the way to him.

Today’s author: Mark Henderson—Founder of The Inspired Legacy
Mark is a creative professional with more than 20 years of experience in the fields of web design and advertising. He also serves as the chief content officer at The Inspired Legacy, an online ministry dedicated to shining a light on God’s gift of parenthood. The organization aims to inspire and equip fathers to boldly lead their families, love their kids unconditionally, and leave a legacy of grown children that carry on these same traditions. Mark resides in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with his wife, Kimberly. Together, they have three children, two girls, and one boy.

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