|Has it rained at your house recently? Silly question. I can’t remember a more wet late summer. To add insult to injury, we had a special visit from Florence which left us with several more inches of rain and concerns of flooded basements and falling trees from the saturated ground.
I found it interesting that my personal challenge with downed trees came two weeks prior to Florence’s arrival. I had a very large Bradford Pear tree in my front yard which was there when the house was purchased. It is common knowledge that the Bradford Pear has a single large trunk base with many individual branches growing out from that trunk. The size of these branches can cause the tree to easily split apart as the weight and length of those branches increases. Without proper pruning, the growth of the branches can lead to the destruction of the whole tree.
As a result, as winter has approached for the past several years, I have commented that we are “one good ice storm away from losing that Bradford Pear.” Well, several weeks ago it happened. The Bradford Pear tree split right down the middle and half of the tree fell to the ground. What’s interesting is that this was not caused by a terrible ice storm or a hurricane or even by straight line winds from a destructive thunder storm. It occurred on a night when we had a typical North Carolina thunder storm.
What is even more interesting is that when half of the tree split, it fell on top of two beautiful Dogwood trees, stripping the limbs off each of them. As a result, my front yard looked like a bomb was dropped on it!
As I was negotiating with several tree removal companies to have the damaged trees removed, one of the estimators very prophetically said to me, “You know the branches are important, but if they get too big for their britches and too far away from the main trunk, they will end up killing the tree.”
Wow! What an amazing statement. The scriptures revealed in everyday life! “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Looks like the Kingdom of Heaven is like a Bradford Pear tree. Christ must remain central to all we do. And every individual must remain equally important within the life of the body. We should strive to grow, for that growth is important to the life of the body. But we must resist the temptation to stray too far for the source of our life. Apart from Him, we can do nothing!
As we strive to grow and even become Disciples, we must take care that we don’t become “too big for our britches.” Keep your eyes on Christ. Trust Him to prune where it is needed. That pruning protects the whole body. Never allow the destructive forces of pride and envy to take your attention away from the source of our life. When we stray too far away from Christ, it doesn’t take much of a storm to cause a lot of destruction.