Thursday, August 20, 2009

Be a sturdy tree

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from Psalm 92:12-15 (NIV):

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,

they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;

planted in the house of the Lord,

they will flourish in the courts of our God.

They will still bear fruit in old age,

they will stay fresh and green,

proclaiming, ‘The Lord is upright;

he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.’”

Gone are the days when men are honored with a gold pocket watch for working for the same company for 40. Few couples will reach their golden anniversary because of the prevalence of divorce in our society. People no longer watch their children and grandchildren grow up in the same house. Gone are the days when elders in the church are the grey-haireds who stuck around through thick and thin. Now our health care system is even talking about wiping out the elderly who cost too much to maintain.

But in God’s house, the righteous are still honored for long life and service to the church and the kingdom. And that’s the way it should be. When my dad died 3 ½ years ago, he was honored for being a righteous man in all areas of his life—his family, his work, his friends, and serving his church. That’s how I want to finish. Even though I’m only in my second year of marriage, someday I want people to look at my remarriage as a blessing to others. I want to be a part of my grandchildren’s lives (just not yet). I want to be known for selflessly serving my fellow man. That takes dedication and commitment.

In this psalm, palm trees and cedars of Lebanon are symbolism for long and sturdy life. Cedars of Lebanon grew to 120 feet high and 30 feet in circumference. Old trees have roots that go down deep; they aren’t shallow. Old trees are solid and immovable, and that’s what God wants us to be. The key is living a righteous life before God. If we look good on the outside to the world, but our insides disgust God, we are not genuine in our character. We can’t have integrity without authenticity. That’s what being righteous means.

Life is a journey. We don’t reach our destination until we die. We don’t suddenly reach an earthly milestone and quit serving others and the Lord because we’re tired. Serving God energizes us, so if we do it right, we should be serving mankind even after retirement from our careers. We may slow down, but we never stop serving. If you’re single, there’s nothing wrong with being single for 15 years. If you’re unemployed, you can survive a year or two without work. The question is, how are you acting under the pressure? Do you spend all your time feeling sorry for yourself or are you serving others? No matter what your circumstances, you can find ways to bide your time in a meaningful way? That’s what God expects from us.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, help me to live my life in a way that’s meaningful to you. Help me to always make time for you and my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen

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