Shade Trees

I once heard an old Southern Baptist preacher tell this story. For the life of me I cant remember his name, but I think about this almost every day.

If you don’t have the God-given blessing of being from the South, first I would like to sincerely apologize, you may not understand the intricate role a shade tree can play on a hot summers day.

Here in Alabama, the temperature can soar upwards of 100 degrees on a July or August afternoon. And let me tell you, this isn’t that dry heat they talk about out in Nevada or Arizona, no sir. This my friends is a heat where the humidity is so high that it might as well be raining outside. So, after a long day of working out in the yard or enjoying a picnic, its about time to seek shelter from the blazing hot sun. Many southerners will attest that the best and sometimes only option is a broad shade tree. Something like a large, time tested, and weathered oak tree.

See, heres the thing. Trees this size are old. If you were to cut it down and count the rings theres no telling how many you would find. We as refugees under its broad shade are just beneficiaries.

More than likely, someone had the forethought to plant the tree that you are sitting under a very long time ago. Way before you were even born or maybe even before your parents were born.

This practice isn’t just found in nature, its applicable to life as well. Listen here. No matter who you are, where you come from, or where you are going, someone did something for you long before you even realized what they were doing. Someone made a sacrifice for you. Someone invested countless hours into your life to make you who you are today.

Think for a second. If we all go back, Im sure someone will pop into our mind.

And just as the individual who planted that oak tree you’re sitting under today may never have the privilege to reap the benefits of their harvest and seek shelter under its shade. The same is true for the person who invested time into your life.

They may have passed on, moved away, or just have been distanced from you for some reason. They were an intricate part of your life, even if you didn’t know it. But they may never be able to sit under the shade tree that you planted.

Your life is the shade tree. Maybe your parents, grandparents, former teacher, or preacher is the one who first planted that tiny little seed.

And maybe, just maybe, your children, your neighbor, your Sunday school classmates, or that person you pass in the office everyday is the one that will reap the benefits of your shade.

This is why we live. To bless others. Don’t ever forget that, and today, take the time to thank that person that planted the seed that eventually grew to be you, if you can. If you cant, share that feeling with someone else. Maybe tell your story, or go plant a seed in someone else’s life.

Love on them. Invest time into their life and then sit back and watch. Maybe you’ll be able to sit under their shade one day.