In a recent conversation with a colleague, she remembered that an instructor somewhere along her educational journey often penned a short tagline alongside his signature. It said simply, “Be the tree.”
So what does this pithy statement mean? Where is rooted? To what does it allude? How should we understand this exhortation?
It actually points to a passage of Scripture that we looked at this past Sunday in my message called, A First Step toward Flourishing. Here’s the Scripture:
1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
(Psalm 1:1-3, ESV)
The tree is a powerful image of a life that is “blessed,” a flourishing life. It’s a life that is “planted” – deep roots bring nourishment. And because of the roots, it’s a life that bears “fruit” and does not “wither” under the stresses that come. In brief, it’s a life that genuinely “prospers.”
Thankfully, this passage of Scripture not only describes the tree, it tells us how to be the tree. The key is in who or what we allow to shape our thoughts, values, and life. Who we “walk” with, who we take our “stand” with, who we “sit” with – these choices shape who we are. The “counsel of the wicked” is not for us. The “way of sinners” is not the way we should go. The “seat of scoffers” is not the perspective that should be ours.
Instead, we should “delight in the law of the Lord.” That means hearing God’s Word, reading the Word, studying the Word, memorizing the Word, and then meditating on the Word “day and night.” It’s the way to root our lives in a rich relationship with God. It’s the first step toward genuine flourishing.
This past week’s Sunday sermon concluded with a simple challenge: engage with God through the Word every day. Let me put it another way: be the tree!
Yours for a flourishing life,