Relationship- The Main Thing
The rain had washed the pollen out of the air leaving the sweet fragrance of spring in its place. The azaleas were glorious pink balls of blooms as we drove onto the property! The naked landscape of winter was finally dressed in the splendor of spring and dark forest emerald greens, adorned with splashed of purple from the Princess Trees and white and pink Dogwoods.
I wanted to plunk down and breathe in the beauty of the mountains, but Wayne was anxious to check the fruit trees. So we walked through the yard, from tree to tree looking for fruit like children at an egg hunt. He pointed out the tiny apples on the newest Wine sap and Gala trees that he had planted just this fall. His Golden Delicious tree had lots of apples. The nectarine out by the road was loaded with tiny red, nippled fruit.
The first plum tree was loaded with plums. Wayne quipped, “I guess you would say, I’m plum blessed.” That guy is always coming up with something. We had to hunt to find the tiny peaches hidden under healthy leaves.
The cherry trees were just beginning to burst with blooms. Wayne stopped at his second plum tree, but could not spot a single plum. I never thought anymore about it. I had super to cook and a beautiful view to enjoy, but Wayne was concerned. Why doesn’t this tree have any plums?
It was obvious the tree was healthy because it was the tallest of the plum trees. The leaves were perfectly shaped and shiny green- yet it was unfruitful. But when he looked closer, he discovered two wild suckers growing from the main root. The suckers were covered with thorns instead of fruit. Gobbling nutrition from the root, the suckers towered over the struggling main stock of the tree. Imposters! Invaders!
Wayne was looking for fruit –not shade.
The next morning I saw Wayne standing in front of the beautiful plum tree. Two tall suckers. Too beautiful to remove. Too barren to remain.
There was only one option- the suckers had to go. I watched while Wayne sawed. It was sad to see the lush tree–like sucker tumble to the ground. It was tall. It was so beautiful.– so healthy–so big. And when the second sucker was removed, I realized how small the plum tree really was. It looked frail in comparison.
I realized I was watching a powerful visualization of the power of diversion. I prayed as I pulled weeds, Father, what are the distractions that I have allowed in my life to suck time and energy away from my ultimate purpose of knowing you and out of that relationship bearing fruit? What are the big thing that I’ve nourished and allowed to grow tall, yet they remain sterile and unfruitful? What are the beautiful things that I’ve made “sacred cows”? Beautiful things that I’ve enjoyed so much I didn’t even realize they were unfruitful, no fragrant blooms–only lush leaves! What are the things in my life that steal my time? Steal my faith? Steal my hope, because my energy is diverted. Not sinful things good things beautiful things, but not the main thing the important thing.
In every season of our lives, we must keep the main thing the main thing. And the main thing is not ministry. The main thing is not even my family or any of the other really important things that I am called to do. The main thing is Jesus.
I understand that trees are made to produce limbs growing in all directions. And not just limbs–but branches–and twigs–twisting—reaching–growing to crown a tree with regal beauty. And like a healthy tree we were made to accomplish a lot of different things–ministry-jobs-family-fun. But we will not be fruitful if the main stock has to compete for sunlight and nutrition.
We sometimes forget that all of life flows out of a relationship with Jesus. He enriches, energizes and affects everything that is important or that makes life meaningful.
As I close, I ask you to ask Father the same questions. Listen. And when you see, I hope you’ll saw!