Raising Trees

My parents gave Shiloh and I a tree as a house-warming gift a month ago. We went to our local greenhouse (Sprout’s) and picked out our tree, a tartarian maple. Our only other tree is one that a deer decided to root on a couple winters ago and it has never quite recovered. So we are very excited to have a healthy tree on our property. We strategically placed it to give our house some good shade in the summer, the only problem being that it is nowhere near tall enough to provide said shade. And, really, it won’t be for quite a while. It is only supposed to grow 6 inches a year, which means when we pay off our 30 year loan, the tree will just be reaching it’s full height. But there is nothing to do other than take care of the tree, protect it from deer, prune it and give it enough water in our dry summer heat.
Now, the reason for writing about trees: I think youth ministry, or even following Christ, is a lot like us planting a tree. I always want and hope for students to “get it” right away and become mature disciples of Christ. Often I don’t really want to have the patience to go in small steps. I want the 7th graders to get with what’s going on and follow Jesus completely by their second week of youth group. But then I think about our tree. It’s a process to maturity and it truly takes time and energy to disciple a student. Hurrying it along only creates shallow, flavor of the day Christians. I have 6 years with these kids, I want to make the most of every one of those, not just the first two weeks.
So, here’s to a lifetime of deliberate, purposeful, good, rich (and sometimes slow) spiritual growth for me and our youth group.

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One comment

  1. I love what you said. So much of life is like that. I think that’s why I love “Mr. Holland’s Opus” so much- he finally gets to see the result of his many years of work. However, it’s not w/o a lot of discouragement sometimes. But oh, so worth the investment! Love your heart, Jesse.

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