Another tree bit the dust today. I was surprised since the shaded serenity offered by its kin is, in part, what causes people to come to this sliver of American paradise in the foothills of the Ozarks. These days I am on a study break, hanging out in a beautiful lake house planning future sermon series for our church family. As I gaze out the window in front of me, I see forested green sloping down to a magnificent lake. Behind me, houses are nestled between tall pines and oaks.
I was enjoying a postcard perfect morning until Paul Bunyan showed up. There on the other side of the road a man was doing his best to clear some timber. Why? What would compel someone to fell a soaring canopy of green in such a beautiful neighborhood? Inside of me I had a sneaking suspicion that I knew the answer.
A van for a national satellite television company sat in the driveway of the owner's home. A worker looked like he was in installation mode. "You've got to be kidding me!" I fumed. I knew what they were up to. Then I reigned in my judgmental spirit and said, "Tommy, you don't know that for sure!"
Well, I do now! Thirty minutes after the tree went down a satellite dish went up.
If you think this is an environmental rant, you're wrong. Believe it or not, I am not related to Joni Mitchell and I don't have Big Yellow Taxi playing in the background. After I settled down a bit, I mused on how many of us -- myself definitely included -- will not let anything get in the way of what we really want. Do I have that same dogged determination when it comes to pursuing God? Paul did:
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death ...
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:7-10, 12-14 ESV)
There was nothing stopping Paul Bunyan. There was nothing stopping the apostle Paul either! How about you?
My Prayer: Lord, help me to see anything that is standing in the way of my relationship with you. Give me Paul's determination to press forward.