Winter Trees and the Church: Beautiful Support

This may sound odd to some people, but I see a unique beauty in the naked trees of winter. Many would describe them as stark, drab, or depressing. I, on the other hand, think they have a beauty all their own when winter strips them of their leafy glory.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the leafy glory of trees as much as the next person. Watching trees bud out and turn green in the spring holds a special excitement for all of us. Summer then brings lush, full trees to pleasantly fill our landscapes before autumn arrives and sets them ablaze with color. I delight in each of these seasons and the changes they bring to trees.

But I think trees are beautiful in winter as well. Some might think it’s like looking at skeletons, but I see what looks like arms and fingers reaching for and pointing to God. I love looking out and seeing the intricacies of the branches. Winter allows us a view of the support system of the leaf laden trees we enjoy the rest of the year. Without the drab looking branches, there could be no beautiful leaves.

Winter trees actually remind me of other support systems in our lives as well. Just think about our bodies and all that’s working together beneath the surface to keep us up and running. The same can be said for just about every company, group, or organization we might name.

Consider the church. Many programs and people are highly visible, but there are just as many or more serving behind the scenes. And it’s the behind-the-scenes-type activity that makes it possible for the more visible ministries to take place. Everyone needs to do their part to keep things running smoothly—and more than that, to enable growth.

What role are you filling in your church—or life in general? Are you a part of the highly visible, leafy-glory, or is your role a part of the vital support system that’s needed? Maybe a little of both? Just keep in mind that neither is better. Both are needed and valued.

So take another look at the winter trees. Beautiful, huh?

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 NIV

*What support systems in your church, workplace, or organizations are you most thankful for?

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*Flickr photo by Oakley Originals, Creative Commons License

*I hope you enjoyed this revised encore post from January 2008!

Midweek Morsel: Glory Surrounds

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May is here and the glory of spring surrounds us, doesn’t it? Green is not just peeking any longer. It’s in full swing, setting the perfect emerald backdrop for the bursts of color the spring flowers are treating us to. Yes, glory surrounds.

Leafy fullness adorns our trees once again. No little buds just teasing us with what’s to come. We listen and hear the leaves swish in the breeze, we are energized by their testimony to life. Yes, glory surrounds.

Spring has brought more of our favorite birds back to us as well. They sing, they dash to and fro, busy with building this season’s homes. They remind us of the wonder of nature, the miracle of creation, and the mighty God who is responsible for it all. The loving God who shares it all with us. Yes, indeed, glory surrounds.

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers . . . what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him.” Psalm 8:3a,4

*What’s your favorite part of spring’s glory?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my inspirational quarterly newsletter, came out earlier this week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Moyan_Brenn, Creative Commons License