Monkey Puzzle Tree

Thursday, July 10, 2008
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Luke 18:8 – I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? (NIV)

Have you ever seen a monkey puzzle tree? They are also known as Chilean Pines and come from the Andes regions in South America. They prefer a cold, wet climate, so you see a great many of them in Scotland. I guess some intrepid Victorian explorer brought the seeds back home with him and they started to flourish in Scottish gardens.

I think that they are beautiful trees, and I love seeing them around the world. I know that there are some in Virginia, USA, but I've not come across any in here Tennessee. They make beautiful ornamental trees when they are young, but as they grow older they reach massive heights. The leaves on the tree are packed tightly together and look like cacti. I suspect that they were called monkey puzzles because South American capuchin monkeys would have had a hard time getting to the top to eat the tree nuts.

Some verses from the Bible are like that. Take today's, for instance. It's from a parable about prayer and justice, which seems to conclude when Christ teaches His listeners that God hears those who persevere in prayer. But then, Jesus tags on something completely different. He challenges the people by asking, "Will faith be found on earth when He returns?"

What does Jesus mean by this? One would think that people who persistently pray have faith and those who uphold justice would be godly. Why is Christ not expecting much faith on the earth when He returns? This is one of those verses that I wish Jesus hadn't uttered. It just makes my head go round and round in circles.

And then, a light goes on: it's a lesson for all of us not to get too preoccupied with our needs or to be overwhelmed by the woes of the world. If we are too focused on the here and now, we will disregard what's to come and forget that, as well as having earthly experiences, we also can have an eternal life with Christ. Instead of trying to make everything perfect in the world, we should be willing to wait for that perfection when Christ eventually arrives. If we concentrate too much on what happens here, we end up having faith in ourselves; but if we hold on to the sacred hope that, when Christ returns, peace and justice, blessings and happiness will be ours, then we will be constantly looking forward to that precious time. If we do that, then Christ will indeed find faith on earth when He at last returns.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we constantly talk to You about our needs and seek justice throughout the world. Help us to do whatever we can to make this world a better place, but also remind us that perfection and peace, justice and true enjoyment will only come to all the earth when You arrive. Be with us and bless us as we wait to serve You forever. Amen.

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John Stuart <>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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