Legend of the Three Trees
by Dr Jean Carter (from a traditional tale)
Legend of the Three Trees - Service to God is not always what we expect
Once there were three magnificent trees growing on a wooded hill. The first tree said to the other two, "Someday I hope to be a treasure chest filled with wondrous treasure. I want to be something that people admire and exclaim over".
The second tree boldly stated; "Someday I want to be a mighty ship that sails kings and queens to the farthest corners of the world".
Finally the third tree declared, "I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. I want people to see me on top of the hill and to look up and think of God. I want to be the greatest tree of all time remembered for my grandeur."
After many, many years of waiting for their dreams to come true, a woodsman came upon the first tree and said, 'I think this would be an excellent tree to sell to a carpenter'. The tree was very happy as he was just a little closer to becoming a treasure chest. When he arrived at the carpenters, to his horror he was not made into a treasure chest but was made into a feed box for animals! He was then placed in a stinking barn and filled with hay. His dream was over!
The second tree was also approached by another woodsman who said, 'This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard.' Yes!' Exclaimed the tree silently, he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship!
But the second tree was not made into a mighty ship, but a very small fishing boat. He would not be sailing around the world, nor carrying Kings and Queens. He would be fishing day and night. He quietly wept to himself.
Finally a woodsman came upon the third tree. 'Oh please', whispered the tree to himself, 'Please let me fulfil my dream.' However, this was not to be. The third tree was just cut into large pieces and left alone in storage.
The years went by, and the trees soon forgot about their aspirations.
One day, a man and woman came to the barn where the feeding box made from the first tree was situated. The woman gave birth and they placed the baby in the fresh hay that was in the feed box. Over time the tree could sense the importance of this baby, the one they called Jesus, and came to realise that he was holding the greatest treasure of all time. It was Christmas and he was a treasure chest after all!
Many years later, a group of men got into the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and quickly went to sleep at the back of the boat. While they were crossing the lake, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think he was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man in a panic. 'Help us' they cried. Then Jesus stood and said, "Peace, be still" and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings across the sea. His dream had been realised.
Finally, the third tree was grabbed from its pile and was dragged through the streets. The person carrying it was mocked as he passed by the crowds. When they finally came to a stop, the tree was laid down and the man was nailed to the tree. The soldiers then raised the tree that had been made into a cross, and stood it on top of a hill where all could see the man Jesus, die. Many people looked upon the cross and saw the true Jesus. The tree's greatest dream had come true - he stood tall and pointed to God.
Sometimes in our lives we may feel that we are not on track, or that we are not able to reach our full potential; however we do not know what is ahead. God gives us hope when he says in Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (New Living Translation)
We have a hope for the future if we give our life to God. It may not be what we planned, but it will be a wonderful and full life. By giving our life to God our old life will disappear and we will have hope for the future.
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