Once or twice in a lifetime you hear a story that leaves an indelible mark on your heart and mind. Such is Shel Silverstein’s story, "The Giving Tree."
"Once there was a tree...and she loved a little boy." And so begins the story of a tree’s being happy because she is able to make the boy happy. At first the boy desires nothing but to climb on her branches, eat her apples, and lie in her shade.
But as the boy grows, so do his desires. But because of the tree’s love, she gives her Apples for him to sell for money to have real fun; her branches that he might build a House for a wife and family; and her trunk so he could build a boat and sail away from the boredom of life.
And then one day the prodigal returns to the tree that loves him. By now, she has given him everything; all that remains of her is an old stump. The boy, now an old man, needs only a quiet place to sit and rest. And the Giving Tree gives once more.
Does that remind you of Jesus, of whom Paul wrote in Philippians, "He emptied himself..."? He cried from his heart, nails in his hands, and poured out his blood that we might believe his love for us. Significantly, Jesus chose the giving tree, His cross, as the demonstrative sign of His absolutely furious love for men and women.
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Contributed by Jerry Flury on Sep 27, 2002
When we think of stewardship, we often see it merely as a matter of our giving of money to God and the church. Giving of tithes and offerings is an important aspect of stewardship, but secondary. Stewardship is a reflection of my relationship with God.