Many Members One Body

During Springtime, life begins to bloom and blossom! All creation becomes vivacious from flying insects, leaves on trees, furry walking friends, singing birds, busy people, and a host of other springtime fevers.

Also, during this time, school comes to an end an outdoor activity begins. I have started enjoying the warm weather and the scenery of flourishing life. One day while thinking about the last days of school and my final Bible lesson, I began to look up and notice this beautiful blossoming tree.

This tree sheds its leaves during the winter, but as I gazed at the blue sky, shimmering water, and the blessing of this beautiful day, the fullness of the tree caught my eye. Observing the leaves on the tree made me think about my Bible lesson – Many Members One Body.

For the past week, I taught the kids that we are many members- diverse people but one body being believers in Jesus Christ. However, as I thought about this lesson and studied the tree, the tree’s appearance became symbolic.

A tree’s typical characteristic is to have one main trunk with many branches that stem from the trunk. The branches are of various sizes and lengths with numerous leaves, pinecones, and/or berries. As I examined this one tree, I began to look at other trees noticing their differences. But the apparent similarity was the trunk.

As a diverse inhabitant, we are many members but one body! As humans, there are varied races, cultures, languages, appearances, abilities – thus many members. As believers in Jesus Christ, there is only one God- our vine and life source. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV 

Looking just below the tree were branches that had broken off and were lying on the ground. Scripture tells us that we cannot bear fruit if we do not remain in the vine.

The branches that had broken off were no longer bearing fruit!

They were dry and brittle, no longer alive!

They were no longer growing!

They no longer had a thriving existence!

As Christians, our existence is the same as a tree. A disconnect from God is a disconnect from the One Body! Though branches may fall, the trunk of the tree stands firm and tall giving constant life. “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

Do not be a fallen branch. God loves you and desires to guide, protect, and provide for you. His help is just a personal relationship away. “I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalms 91:2 NIV

So, my friends, as we begin to enjoy this warm weather and become more active outdoors, stay connected to Jesus like a branch to a tree. Look at what HE has created with each new day. Notice the existence and breath of life in all things. But be the image-bearers of the One True God. We are salt and light, many members of one family. Different in nature but identical in Jesus Christ.

Be Blessed in the Mighty name of Jesus Christ! ~ Amen

Prune or Cut Down

Today, after nineteen years of living in our home, we had our last sun-blocking tree cut down in the backyard. What was once an ordinary size tree had now become a gigantic, overgrown, problematic tree.

The tree had grown so tall and broad that the limbs were hanging over the roof, and what used to provide welcoming shade had become a homeowner’s nightmare.

According to the professionals, the tree caused a moist bearer on the roof’s back side due to the hanging limbs, which also damaged the gutters and wood in that same area. Ouch! Something else to repair!

But as I thought about the damage the tree caused, God redirected my thinking toward life circumstances and relationships. God revealed to me that relationships and even life, in general, are like our overgrown tree. We have small problems that we do not address, and over time (years), that problem gets bigger and bigger, such as our tree.

However, when the issue gets out of hand, we decide it’s time to do something. Instead of fixing the problem when it’s a molehill, we wait until it becomes a mountain.

Our tree had become a problem for us. It was too large, hanging on the roof, damaging the wood, gutters, and shingles. The tree had grown passed my husband’s desire to cut himself.

Instantly God said, “What about life, relationships, work?”

Relationship problems! Are you seeking professional help to end your marriage?

Work conflict! Are you looking for another job?

Health issues! Are you still avoiding the idea of exercising?

Have your problems become greater than you’d like to handle?   

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:8-9 NIV

But what about pruning our issue? I said to my husband, “Why don’t we prune the tree? It’s a beautiful tree that provides a lot of shade for the patio!”

So I ask, could you prune your issue instead of cutting it down? What do you prune I asked God? He said, “Your pride, ego, selfishness, inability to listen, compromise, or use self-control!”

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20 NIV

What about professional help to heal your marriage?

What about searching for personal accountability in your workplace conflict?

What about changing the way you eat and start exercising a couple of days a week?

Cutting down your issue may not always be the best option. But if we ask God for His help and guidance through the Holy Spirit, He will help us correctly prune our problems individually and collectively, so we look like the body of Christ!

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalms 32:8 NIV

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2 NIV

So, if at all possible, try to look at your problem with pruning eyes. What self-work can you do internally, demonstrating it externally!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

In the Awesome, Mighty name of Jesus Christ! ~ Amen