I was giving myself a bad time of it the other day. It was one of those moments when you question your life. I kept wondering if I had done enough to learn, to grow, to help others, and to make this world a better place. I was being a tough judge on myself too. It was then, however, that God in His infinite wisdom gave me peace by awakening in my mind an old story that I had read many years before.
The story begins when a young man taking a lone hiking trip loses his way and finds himself stranded without water in a desolate treeless valley. He is saved, though, when a widowed shepherd finds him and leads him to a spring. The man learns that the shepherd after losing his wife had decided to restore the ruined landscape by single-handedly planting a forest, tree by tree, with only a curling pole and acorns that he had collected from many miles away.
Many years later the man returns and finds a growing forest in the valley and the shepherd, now a bee keeper still at work cultivating and nurturing the woodland. The man continues to visit the valley each year and watches as over four decades the tree planter turns the valley into a Garden of Eden. In the end the man helps his friend to get the government to protect the forest and many people move there. He also visits him one last time as the now very old tree planter peacefully passes away.
Thinking of that story made me realize that each of us is a tree planter too. We plant trees of goodness with every loving thought we think, every kind word we share, and every caring act we do. We plant these trees each and everyday of our lives. We should waste no time judging ourselves then while there are more trees to plant. And at the end of our lives when we face our Heavenly Father, we can smile and see where a forest has grown.
“So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” (Is 61:3)
By: Joseph J. Mazzella