Monte Hunt – Worship Leader
We can learn a lot from trees. Honestly, the metaphors they offer are so numerous I’d like to write a book about it. Many biblical psalmists and prophets, along with Jesus Himself, reference trees and other plants to help us better understand God and what this life is all about. And today I’d like to use them to illustrate a valuable point for us to consider.
If a tree isn’t growing, what is it doing? Although we cannot visibly see it in real time, a tree is always in motion. It is always doing something. Even when a deciduous tree sheds it’s leaves and goes dormant for the winter, it is still in the process of soaking up sunlight, nutrients, and moisture from the ground to produce new foliage in spring. It is in the process of growing. But what happens when a fire rolls through the forest, or toxins enter it’s roots, or a bug infestation sets in? The tree, either slowly or instantly, halts in its growing process. And if a tree isn’t growing – it’s dying.
The same is true for you and me. If we are not growing, we are dying. Like a tree, we have little or no control over our physical bodies growth process. At some point in our late twenties or early thirties, our bodies reach their peak growth and the dying process begins. Depressing, I know. It’s part of life. But there are elements of growth for us as human beings that are separate from the slow decay of the body. And until the day you breathe your last, you can be in the process of growth.
This type of growth is synonymous with learning. What did you learn today? How have you bettered yourself, and by default, bettered those around you today? Fortunately, since you are reading this blog you may be learning something right now, or at least you are being reminded of something you’ve already learned. And reminders are a vital part of the learning process. Congratulations! You can check learning for today off your list.
But many people struggle with daily learning for one of two main reasons: either they don’t see the point of it (this could be laziness or depression), or they think they already know enough (arrogance and pride). You may not be fully immersed in one or the other, but we all swing at least a little to one side or the other on this. Personally, I swing more to the pride side of things, but occasionally there is some laziness peppered into the mix. Wherever you land, know there is a sweet spot in the middle where learning is at it’s peak, and we can all work to get there. The word for this sweet spot is humility.
A person, an occasion, a day in your life approached with humility is a person, an occasion, a day from which you can learn. And Jesus showed us a perfect view of humility through His life on earth, and through the apostle Paul, God gave us its meaning in the most perfect way, when He said:
“Do not be selfish; and do not try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but rather thinking of yourself less. And if you and I make a habit out of considering others better than ourselves – even when, from a human viewpoint, they may not be – then we have also formed a habit of daily learning; and daily learning produces profound growth over time, but not overnight.
Consider a mighty oak tree. How did it get it’s start? Was it a smaller tree to start? A sapling? No, it was just a small seed. And did it grow to be mighty in just a few days? A few weeks? No, it takes decades and even centuries for an oak to grow to its full and grand potential. The same is true for you and me. Daily humility brings daily growth; and over time daily growth brings you to the full potential God has planned for you.
This attitude of humility pleases God’s heart greatly, and He tells us this in His Word. So, His Word is what we conclude with today:
“He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.” Proverbs 25:9
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
“Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.” Proverbs 22:4
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30
Stay humble. Keep learning. Keep growing.