Pulpit Reflections God's Trees by Pastor Joe Villalobos "Far away, on a hillside, grew a forest of trees. The trees were very happy with life just as it was. But sometimes they spoke of the future, of things they would like to do and be when they grew up.
"In this forest there was a mother tree and her three little trees. One tree said, 'I would like to be a baby cradle. I think a baby is the sweetest thing I have ever seen, and I should like to be made into a baby's bed.'
"A second tree spoke. 'That would not please me at all. I want to be something important. I should like to cross many waters and carry cargoes of gold.'
"A third little tree stood off by himself and did not speak. 'What would you like to be?' asked Mother Tree. 'Have you no dreams for the future?'
"'No dream,' he answered, 'except to stand on this hillside and point men to God. What could a tree do better than that?'
"Years passed, and the little trees grew tall and beautiful. One day men came to the forest and cut down the first tree. 'I wonder whether I shall be made into a baby's cradle now, he thought. But the little tree was not made into a cradle. Instead, it was hewn into rough pieces and carelessly put together to form a manger in a stable in Bethlehem. He was heartbroken. 'This is not what I planned,' he wailed, 'to have cattle eating out of me.'
"But God, who loves little trees, whispered to him, 'Wait. I will show you something.' And he did! For on a cold, still night, Mary and Joseph came into that stable, and there she gave birth to the Son-of-God, Jesus, and laid him in that manger. 'This is wonderful,' whispered the tree. This is better than all my planning. I'm part of a miracle.'
"Months passed, and men came again to the forest to cut down the second tree. 'I wonder whether I shall be made into a great vessel now and do great things,' he thought. But instead he became a tiny fishing boat, owned by a simple Galilean fisherman named Peter. The little boat was most unhappy. 'To think that my life has come to this. just an old smelly fishing boat. And Peter not a very good fisherman!'
"But God, who loves little trees, said to him, 'Wait. I will show you something.' And he did. One day, from out of the crowd, came a person named Jesus. He sat in the boat and taught the crowd beautiful words of wisdom. Then he told Peter to launch out into the deep and let his nets down. There were so many fish that the net broke. The little boat trembled, not so much from the weight of the fish as with the weight of wonder in his heart. 'In all my dreams I never thought to carry a cargo like this! Why, I'm part of a miracle. This is better than all my planning.'
"Weeks went by and one day men came to the forest to cut down the third tree, the one who wanted to just stand on a hill and point me to God. He was most unhappy as the axe cut into his bark. 'I don't want to go into the valley,' he cried. 'Why couldn't men leave me alone?' The men tore away the branches and cut deeper into his very heart. They hewed it apart, then put it together again in the form of a rude cross. 'This is terrible. They are going to kill someone on me. I never wanted this to happen; I only wanted to point men to God,' he wailed.
"But God, who loves little trees, said to him, 'Wait. I will show you something.' And he did. A few days later, a great multitude gathered outside of Jerusalem. In their midst was Jesus, carrying the cross. When they came to the place called Calvary, they nailed him to that cross and crucified him. The cross shuddered beneath the weight of agony and shame. But then a miracle happened.
"Jesus, when he had cried with a loud voice, gave up his life. And the earth quaked and the rocks trembled. When the centurion saw these things, he was afraid and said, 'Truly this man was the son of God.'
"Then the little tree that has become a cross remembered the echo of a past promise from heaven: 'And I, if I be lifted up from earth, will draw all men unto me.' The tree began to understand. 'This is wonderful,' he thought. 'I am part of a miracle. In all my dreams I never thought to point men to God in this way. This is better than all my planning.' And so it was. For hundreds of trees stood on the hill slopes through the years, but not one of them has reconciled men to God."
(Child Evangelism Fellowship)
Joe Villalobos is pastor at Faith Fellowship of the Open Bible Church.