Life lessons come from the strangest places. Friday morning I took short walk along the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay and saw this tall and very dead pine tree standing among many living trees. Some lessons started tumbling through my head. Let me share them.
1. Death Leaves an Empty Spot
If you use you imagine you see where the great top or crown of this tree once swayed in the wind. But now there is but an empty place. When we pass this life we will leave an empty spot. It’s size depends on us and what we accomplish in life. It’s evident this tree accomplished much, at least as much as a tree can. It grew tall and strong and spread its limbs. What a great idea for us.
2. Even the Great Are Scarred
If you could examine this tree a bit closer you would see evidence of disease and damage this tree incurred. Perhaps that was the disease that ultimately killed it. But in its long life it suffered many assaults. Sometimes we see great people and assume they never suffer. In reality we all suffer mightily. The difference between a truely great person and a mediocre one is that the great man overcomes his troubles. He doesn’t complain about every ache or every trouble he faces. If you could examine him you find his life scarred with obstacles, struggles and difficulties but you would also see that he kept growing through them all.
3. Some Stand Tall Even in Death
Great Bible characters remain tall today even though they died millennia ago. Jesus, Moses, Peter, Paul, John are all great heroes. Hebrews 11 lists many such great men. Even in the secular realm greats like Washington, Jefferson and King remain honored for their work. This tree is still standing even though it is dead. It will fall one day. But for now it has claimed its place among the great trees. We stand tall in death by standing tall in life. A life of faith, honor and purity will ensure that even in death we continue to stand.
4. It is Good to be Different
Have you ever noticed that every tree is unique? No two are exactly alike. The branches of this tree, which can still be seen, remind me that in life it look different from every other tree. Culture exerts enormous pressure to conform and to accept the thinking and styles of the majority. But all of God’s great men and women were different. Imagine how Noah must have looked to his neighbors as he built a massive boat on dry land! God’s people need to reject the conformity of the world and instead need to be transformed by the renewing of their mind through the word of God (Romans 12:2).
5. Life Goes On
The tree here is surrounded by the living. Just because one tree dies in the forest it doesn’t mean the others stop growing. They grow and, in time, will replace much of the space of the old tree. One day we will pass this life and others will pick up where we left off. We want them to be prepared and trained for the challenges of life. Our families need guidance, especially our youth. It’s despicable for parents to allow children to raise themselves. They desperately need guidance. Likewise, it is important to allow them to grow up and take more responsibility for their lives. When we are gone they will become the tall trees of the future.
Those are my thought. Can you add a few lessons? We would love to hear them. Leave a comment in the box below.