Have you ever heard of the “Parable of the Three Trees”?
Once upon a time, three young trees were planted close to one another. They matured together, sharing sunshine, minerals and water. They shared their dreams and aspirations with one another.
They all aspired to become huge and live for hundreds of years. There is a sequoia redwood tree in Northern California called “the president” that is close to 300 feet tall. Its trunk is 27 feet in diameter, and it’s 3200 years old. Another redwood close by, named “General Sherman”, is even larger.
The three trees continued to dream big dreams about the impact each would make in the forest. But one day a lumberjack cut all three trees down before they could make the impact they had aspired to.
One was carved into a feeding trough, the other into a boat bench, and the third into a cross beam. They were disappointed. They had become such ordinary things that would make no significant or discernable impact in their world. They got depressed.
But soon after that, they discovered why they had been formed into these ordinary objects. Each would be of service to a carpenter — a carpenter who would be their master. The feeding trough would become a manger in which the Christ child would lay. The boat bench would become a pulpit for Jesus to preach atop, while in a boat, for the thousands who heard the beatitudes. And the cross beam became the beam that our Saviour would be nailed to in order to redeem all humanity.
These three trees never imagined their aspirations for greatness would turn out this way. Their disappointment turned to joy.
As we mature as followers of Christ, often we need to let go of our dreams, goals, values, priorities, and desires — our spiritual maturity is dependent on it.
We strive to be a treasure chest, full of jewels, money and riches. But God is calling us to be a feeding trough full of nourishment to satisfy the soul of those seeking Jesus.
We set our sights on attaining the heights of the mast of a great sailing ship, to be noticed for miles around. But God calls us to the lowly service of a service bench that people can lean on. They never notice the bench, but they always appreciate that it’s there.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that greatness is found in worldly significance. The three trees found importance in ways they had never imagined.
Greatness is found in lowliness. In fact, God tells us that He opposes the proud. Significance is discovered in humility.
This is the way of the cross. Embrace the Lordship of Christ in your life.
What dream, value, misplaced priority, or goal is hindering your walk towards Christ-likeness? Let the Great Carpenter carve your offering into something even greater than you aspire to. He loves to use ordinary objects to do extraordinary things!