Friday Love with Pastor Brad

As a child, I remember reading a book called “The Giving Tree” written by Shel Silverstein. As I became a dad, I in turn read this book to my children. It hasn’t been until recently, however, that I have engaged in some deep reflection on the meaning of this book for my life. To those for whom this book may not be familiar, let me briefly rehash its basic storyline.

The story begins with a boy and a tree. The tree is very “giving” to the boy, providing branches for the boy to climb, a place for the boy to swing, shade for the boy to sleep on hot summer days, and apples for the boy to eat. The tree loved those years. As the boy grows older, however, he spends less time with the tree. And when he does come to the tree, it’s typically because he wants something from her. The tree wants to play, but the boy is more interested in money. So the tree gives her apples for him to sell, and that makes the tree happy. Later on, she gives her branches for him to build a house, and that also makes her happy. But then, the boy goes away and doesn’t come back for a long, long time. Then, one day, he passed by again. She was so excited, and she cried out, “Come on, let’s play!” But the boy was older now, and tired of the world. He wanted to get away from it all. So she said, “Cut me down. Take my large trunk and make a boat. Then you can sail away.” So, the man did that, and the tree was happy. But then, many many seasons passed again before the tree saw him again. Finally, as an old man, he returns. But he is too old to run around, too old to swing, too old to pursue riches or sail the seas. And she, too, is sad because she cannot provide him shade, apples, or materials like she had in the past. He ignores this, however, because his teeth are too brittle to bite into an apple, his muscles too weak to swing, his body too tired to climb a trunk. She says, “I have a pretty good stump left, my friend. Why don’t you just sit down here and rest?” And so, he does, and the tree is happy. And so is the man.

I am growing older. I have kids and a family that I provide for on a daily basis. I also have aging parents and relatives. And so, in light of this story, I have taken a good look at my own life. And what I realize is that I can identify with both the man and the tree. I know what it is like to be on the receiving end, and I also know what it is like to be on the giving end. And I ponder……how many “Giving Trees” have been there for my life, selflessly giving of themselves and releasing parts of themselves so that I may grow, accomplish my goals, and find satisfaction in life? And as I think about that question, I realize that there have been many, MANY people who have graciously given of themselves to me. And so, I pause and thank God for them, for selfless love generously shared with me. I could spend a whole lot of time right now listing out their names.  You know what? I think I will do that! Not here, but sometime today. Thanking God for every one of them. Thanking God for love! You may want to join me in this activity……I hope you will!
Prayers for you as you go into the weekend; a little Friday love to get it going!

With Love,
Pastor Brad 

Back to top