I can remember having some trees taken down in our yard years ago and seeing the four remaining stumps still grounded in our lawn. They were not only eyesores, but they were in the way and served absolutely no purpose at all. We had someone come and grind them up, so we could plant grass or flowers in their place. It was amazing the difference it made when these stumps were gone and replaced with the beauty of flowers.
The Bible says, “A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.” (Proverbs 11:28) As I read this verse, I couldn’t help but remember these stumps in my yard. It brings this analogy from the Word of God to life for me. I can visualize what God is saying in this verse. A life devoted to things is like a stump. It is an eyesore to the grace and glory of God. It is “in the way” of what He desires to do in our lives, and it serves no purpose at all. A stump cannot have growth or bear fruit, because it is dead and this verse conveys the reality that the same is true of a life devoted to things.
On the other hand, the Bible says that a “God-shaped life is a flourishing tree”. I am sure you don’t have to look far to find a flourishing tree. The flourishing tree is not only beautiful and more colorful, but it also bears fruit, flowers, or foliage. It serves many purposes such as, helping the environment, adding beauty, it can offer shade from the heat, or it can give fruit for nourishment.
I don’t know of anyone reading this post that would desire to have a life that is compared to a stump. All of us want to flourish and have a life of purpose. The amazing thing about God is that when we flourish in our relationship with Him, we in turn, flourish in every other area of our life, as well, because HE cannot be contained in just one area. When we choose to be consumed with Him, we find that He, in turn, consumes us. Our lives become beautiful, exciting, and, just as this verse says, “flourishing”. As a result of this flourishing, we are able to help others, add a sense of beauty, offer refreshment and nourishment to the lives of others. What a difference this is from a life compared to a stump!
What about you? As you take a moment to reflect on your life, which do you see? What are you devoted to and, as a result of that, what are you becoming? Are you a stump, bearing no fruit and having no real purpose? I hope you are much more like the flourishing tree, living a life with eternal purpose, and bearing much fruit for others to enjoy. There is a distinct difference, and if you follow the trail of what you are most committed to, you will find whether you most resemble a stump or a flourishing tree. Are you pursuing Him and living for others, or are you devoted to the trivial, insignificant things of this world? This is a great personal inventory question we should all ask ourselves regularly, because it is so easy to loose sight of what matters most, and this misaligned devotion can cause us to begin to shrivel up in our spirits.
May we not be distracted today by all that the world has to offer, but dig deep into the rich soil of God’s Word, spend our energies on giving ourselves away, and invest in that which will last forever. As a result, we will be like a flourishing tree, giving shade to the weary, bringing refreshment to those around us, and bearing much fruit for God’s glory!