'Trees and Squash'

Terry Walton


I Was Thinking…

Prior to becoming President of the United States, James Garfield was principal of Hiram College in Ohio.  When a father asked if the course of study couldn’t be simplified so his son might finish school sooner, Garfield replied, “Certainly.  But it all depends upon what you want to make of your boy.  When God wants to make an oak tree, God takes a hundred years.  When God wants to make a squash, God requires only two months.” (Developing the Leaders Around You, Maxwell, P.119)

One of the questions I have asked parents when they would share their struggles of parenting with their teenage son or daughter is “What kind of relationship do you wish to have with your child 10 years into the future?”  Then I would suggest they attend to their parental/adolescent relationship out of the context of their future desire for that relationship.

I don’t propose that my advice is profound or even clinically accurate.   But I do suggest that many things in life need to be viewed through the ‘long view’ and not the ‘short view’.  The saying, ‘we can’t see the forest for the trees’ is often an accurate description of life situations.  We can be too close emotionally to see clearly.

All of this implies that we must be people who are always growing, learning and thus leaning into God’s future for us.  We are in life for the long haul.  We are to be like trees who grow our entire lives.  There is no such thing as a full-grown tree.  The day a tree stops growing is the day it dies.

The promise that God is with us—Emmanuel—is a promise for the long haul.  Where in our lives do we need reminding that God is with us?  Where in our lives do we need to grow and learn how to trust for the long haul of life?  Where might we be living out of a ‘squash mentality’?

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus (Matthew 28:20 NRSV)

Always Thinking…

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