Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere"1 (Lyrics)
Genesis 2:9 – And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (NKJV)
For many years, we lived on a fairly large property on the outskirts of town. Part of the property was bush, with both hardwood and softwood trees, as well as the various kinds of brush that grow in those places. The Northern White Cedar, of which there were many, is a slow-growing, native North American boreal tree with the scientific name "Thuja occidentalis".
Another name for the tree is "arborvitae", meaning "the tree of life". It has also been called Swamp Cedar, because it grows extremely well in wet swampy areas. It was the first North American tree to be transplanted and cultivated in Europe. Its principal commercial use is for rustic fencing and posts, because of the wood's resistance to rot. Other important wood products made from the species include cabin logs, lumber, poles, and shingles. The wood fibre is also used as paper pulp and particle board.
On different occasions, I used to cut down a cedar tree when I needed a post for some project or other. One time, I cut down a really large one and had the log cut into boards, which I used later for certain winter woodworking projects. I also gathered small cedar trees and transplanted them as hedges in certain areas around the house. It is a tree with many uses indeed.
During the period between Ascension and Pentecost, I was studying the passages concerning these two events and I was trying to come up with an idea for a practical demonstration of how the gospel spread at that time. Then I recalled one of the ways that the cedar trees on our property multiplied as time went on. In the fall of the year, leaves and needles from other trees fall on the cedar branches, and in the winter, snow pushes them down, so that the lower branches will sometimes touch the ground. Those branches will grow roots, and other trees will start, sometimes as many as eight or ten around the "mother tree" — the tree of life.
After Peter gave his passionate sermon at the time of Pentecost, the gospel started to grow and spread:
Acts 2:41 – Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (NKJV)
The book of Proverbs actually ties together the tree of life and the spread of the gospel:
Proverbs 11:30 – The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. (NKJV)
Think about it: What is the fruit of your life? What can we do — what are we doing — to spread the gospel?
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are times when we feel so inadequate — times when we wonder if we are doing any good at all. We pray that You will give us the strength and the ability to lead more people to faith in Christ. We ask it in His name. Amen.