I’m an itinerate pastor, which is to say, my family and I move when the Bishop asks us to go to a new church. Think of it like the army, for pastors. One of the things I’ve learned to do when I get to a new home and a new community is plant trees. We had 10 years at our last appointment and got to watch some oaks and a little ash tree mature. In the valley, we’ve planted an orange, two dwarf banana trees, and an avocado. We plant them when we arrive so we can enjoy them for years to come. And because they leave something lovely for the next folks.

The trees also remind me of one of my favorite Psalms, the first one:
[The righteous] are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do. (1:1)

We are like trees! When we set our hearts on God, when we sink our roots into that Living Water (which is always right at our side), then we, too, bear fruit in every season. Even the hard ones. And our “leaves,” unlike those of most plants, never wither. Not when we are planted by the Living Water Jesus gives us freely and abundantly.

If you are feeling dry, scarred, or afflicted. If you are wondering about direction or trying to overcome a sin or terrible habit. If you are looking for purpose or meaning, consider this verse. Now is the time, right now, to sink your roots into God’s provision. Read your Bible, wake up 10 minutes early tomorrow and begin the day with prayer, worship, find a Christian friend and pray for each other. Use all the tools God teaches us to tap into the renewal that God says is always right at our side. And may we all grow more beautiful, and more fruitful, year after year.

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