“The tree you saw was growing very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. It had fresh green leaves…Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches.” (Dan. 4:20-21 NLT)
That was Tree. Deep in the midst of nature’s sanctuary, he stood above all the rest. Grand and beautiful.
Tree’s branches stretched toward the sky as if to touch his Creator and reached out in a wide circle as if to encompass all those around him.
In spring, he blossomed with new growth, opening his limbs as a portal of welcome for the birds to come sing their sweet melodies to their Creator.
In the hot, summer sun, his leaves unfurled as a canopy of shade for the lovers who came to sit on the bench beneath his shadow and commune with the Master of the forest.
In the midst of fall, seedlings of hope fell from his limbs to the ground, spreading out his tiny descendants of the future. He dressed in a multicolored coat of beauty for all to enjoy before the grave of winter entombed him.
With all that, he still felt useless.
I provide comfort for all the Creator’s creatures, thought Tree. But oh, I wish I could be of greater service to Him. How can I be an entrance of praise to my Maker? How can I be a support to the Creator’s followers? How can I be a likeness of the Master’s message of love and forgiveness? Oh, to be of greater service!
But he puzzled just how to this.
One day, Tree heard his Creator say, “Because it is in your heart to serve Me, I shall grant your heart’s desires.”
On the outskirts of the forest, nestled in the lush, green valley laid a picturesque town. A small, white church sat in the midst of the town square.
One day, a fierce twister ripped through the area, cutting a devastating swath through the forest and the middle of town, destroying most of the old church.
When the parishioners came to assess the damage, they were overwhelmed with despair as they walked through the piles of rubble. But they gathered themselves together and began working to rebuild the church on their own as they could not afford to hire anyone for the work.
One day, one of the workers, a carpenter, had an idea. He went out to the forest to find a tree felled by the storm’s ravages. He walked deep within the forest and found a magnificent tree lying on the ground.
Oh, how can I ever be of service now that I am destroyed? thought Tree.
Taking out his axe, the carpenter chopped Tree into sections and hauled them back to his workshop.
On his way there, three ideas swirled around in his head. For the next several months, the carpenter sacrificed all his time to fashioning three special items out of the tree for the church.
The following spring, when the work was completed, the people came the first Sunday to worship. Arriving at the church, they all marveled how beautiful it looked and how it glorified God. The carpenter had used the remnants of the tree to fashion the front door, the pews, and the cross.
You could almost hear Tree sigh. Now, my heart’s desires to be of service are answered.
Because of the carpenter’s handiwork, I am now an entrance of praise, a welcoming portal, that worshippers may come to the sanctuary of God and sing their sweet melodies of praise.
Because of the carpenter’s artistry, I am now polished pews, supporting the Creator’s followers, as they come to commune with the Master.
Because of the carpenter’s sacrifice, I am the cross that proudly proclaims the Master’s message of love and forgiveness, that more may have eternal life.
We are God’s trees of righteousness (Is. 61:3). Though we serve the Lord, occasionally, we feel useless and desire to be of greater use. Just as the little, white church, we, too, must sometimes suffer a ravaging storm to blow through our midsection as it attempts to destroy our temple that we may be of higher service.
When we feel we have been felled by the world’s axe of affliction, the Carpenter can still make us useful. If that is our hearts’ desire.
*Because of God’s handiwork in our lives, we open our hearts to praise Him.
*Because of Christ’s artistry in our lives, we can be reshaped to support God’s people.
*Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we can share His love with others and point them to His cross of forgiveness and eternal life.
Just as the carpenter sacrificed all his time to fashion special items for the little church, Jesus the Carpenter sacrificed for us to be made into His implements for the church to glorify Him.
Trust the Carpenter to do His work well with you.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph. 3:20-21 NKJV)