I sat on the deck the other day, just absorbing the beauty of all the greenery surrounding our house. Towering white pine and maple, oak and beech, hemlock and birch. In spite of a warm spring and summer, leaves on trees and bushes are lush.
As I settled further into a contented reverie, I pondered the amazing fact that all those leaves are silently giving, giving, giving. While I’m rushing about exhaling carbon dioxide or roaring down the highway spewing pollutants, they are quietly absorbing carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen.
If only we could learn to give so lavishly; so consistently. Instead of spewing gossip or criticism, judgment or condemnation, we could pour forth encouragement and comfort. (I’ve already had occasion today to be gently rebuked by my wife for unnecessary negativity!)
Jesus teaches us: “Do not judge…do not condemn…give, and it will be given you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap. for with the measure you use, it will be measured to you…why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye” (Luke 6:37,38, 41). What a promise of abundant blessing if we can only counter our judgmental tendency!
In the mystery of photosynthesis that goes on so silently, we have an amazing created mechanism that balances taking away the harmful with giving off what is life-supporting. And as each leaf-factory operates, it also produces the food needed by the plant! Trees can teach us to give; to give is to be blessed.