Summary: A growing Christian whether a new believer or a seasoned saint is like a healthy tree – planted, nourished and fruitful.
livingWORD Assembly of God
Psalm 1:3 reads,
"He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season."
People who don’t want to wait 4 decades for a globe Norway maple to grow in their front yard can buy a 30-foot specimen form a New York nursery for $42,000. A 50-foot European beech is a bargain for only $20,000. In spite of the prices, the country’s leading nurseries report soaring sales of mature trees.
As one customer put it: "I can’t wait for a banana to ripen. I only buy them bright yellow. There’s no patience for watching a tree grow."
We humans are always in a hurry, looking for shortcuts to skirt the process and grasp the product. And sometimes we expect instant maturity in our Christian walk and growth in faith. What a contrast to the enormous leisure of God in His dealings with us!
The psalmist affirmed God’s promise that the person who delights in His Word will "be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season." A growing Christian whether a new believer or a seasoned saint is like a healthy tree – planted, nourished and fruitful.
If our roots are in God’s Word and our hearts are drawing sustenance from Him, we will flourish. And growth toward maturity brings joy to the God of patience.
Today I want us to look at four trees all from the same family. They are Cedar trees. You might want to call them cypress trees or more commonly, fir trees.
The Cedar tree is an evergreen tree that sometimes grows more than 100 feet tall with a trunk of 40 to 50 feet. It’s a fragrant wood that is rot-resistant and knot-free, making it ideal for building, shipbuilding, and crafting idols.
There are numerous biblical references to these cedar trees. The Israelites valued the timber of these trees and they are used symbolically to describe the blessings of God for his people.
The four types of Cedars I want to discuss today are the Small Cedars, The Humming Cedars, the Fire Cedars and the Tall Cedars. We’ll only take a quick view at each tree so let’s begin.
First there’s the Small Cedar.
When you cut down a bunch of small cedars and throw them on the truck, you barely need to tie them down. All the little limbs begin to lock on to each other until they form one big bundle.
They remind me of the children’s game – Red Rover – you remember, you lock hands with your team mates and sang, Red rover red rover send Suzy right over.
Locked together they remind us of the word – unity. As a church we need unity. Understand that unity doesn’t mean we all act and think the same, nor do we all agree on everything. But it does mean we agree to fellowship one with another and lock arms with each other in love.
The shepherd uses small cedars like hedges to keep the sheep in the fold at night. Small trees, branches entwined, formed a wall the sheep could not escape from. Small cedars kept the sheep safe – the sheep couldn’t wander out, and the wolf couldn’t make his way through the branches.
Small cedars are use to make wall studs. They really tell us a great story about some of the people in church. I can think of so many people who ministered in areas that never get much recognition, but just like the wall studs of this building are a necessity, they are vital to the church.
The next tree is the Humming Cedar.
The humming cedar grows where nothing else will grow. This cedar loves the wind. The more the wind blows the more the humming cedar hums. The humming noise quiets the sheep.
The humming cedars are important to the church as well. They are people who help bring calm into chaotic circumstances. They remind us to focus on God’s face and give ourselves over to him. They are the people that will recite Footprints in the Sand whenever we think God has somehow forgotten us.
The third cedar is the Fire Cedar
Every pastor wants fire cedars at his church. They’re the kind of tree that catches fire with the littlest of sparks. I know church folk that won’t catch on fire if you blow torch ‘em, but the fire cedar catches fire quickly.
The amazing thing about the fire cedar is its ability to burn. Even in a rainy downpour the fire cedar keeps on burning. It’s full of sappy oil that burns and burns and burns.
It’s the kind of wood you want to burn when camping