From Which Tree are You Eating?
Have you ever been in the middle of no-where and God speaks? I was on a Yurt trip recently and He spoke. By the way, a Yurt is an octagon shaped building with canvas wrapped around it. In the winter time you have to pack in two miles for this trip up the mountain in Taos, NM. It’s pretty awesome since your only water supply is the snow around you.
The night before we left, we camped out in a conference retreat center in Sante Fe, NM, and I had this really cool dream: A man walked into the room I was sleeping in, the very room I was actually in with all the people there, and he handed me a brightly colored green book. I knew right away the man was Jesus only he didn’t look like your stereotypical Jesus. He was clean shaved and that fact alone might trigger all kinds of arguments, but for the sake of the moment let’s just assume it really was Jesus handing me that book. I bet you’re just dying too know what the title was: Lodgeless Living. Whoa, what the heck is lodgeless living? Right away I thought “the son of man has no place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20),” and I woke up. I told the group about my dream the next morning. They all know that’s a pretty consistent way God and I converse and they thought it was cool but we never discussed its meaning. I held onto that for myself.
The trip was awesome! The mountain became the metaphor as I climbed to its top carrying my sleeping bag, a bit of water, clothes and food; a lodge to go! Snow cleaning on the inside and out; I felt good! We forgot our age and remembered our youth as we went sledding and ate and ate and ate. Then I found myself remembering my age and in a heated debate stemming from the statement “Not all truth is good.” I argued my side totally disagreeing, especially since as a counselor I find truth to be at the core of healing. His argument was more along the lines of what’s done with truth. I left crying. I’m such a big baby sometimes! And I went snowshoeing, mad and dejected because I lost the argument. Thank God for that debate because I dove in when I got home, discussed it with my husband, friends, a pastor here a pastor there. My husband gave me the “ah ha” I needed in my spirit: those ancient trees!
It seems I was eating off of that old tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9). When has anything of value come from that tree? We argue with ourselves and each other about what is good, what is bad, who is evil, who is great but that is where the synagogue of Satan rests; that viper wrapped around the branches of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That’s the place where wagging fingers say “Quiet! We’re waiting for the Christ to come! You are bad and full of sin, you are gay, you are a hoar, you are poor, your clothes are torn and some of you are even naked,” or on the other side of the coin one might hear things like “You are great, you are popular, you have a strong ministry, you have so many numbers– just look at the size of your church, business, _______fill in the blank.!?” Yet, there he is, Jesus himself, standing in the street looking out from that crowd of stinky smelly sinners. That’s where I want to be standing, in the shade of that tree; the Tree of Life; Jesus. But it’s not an easy place to stand. Have you ever been faced with the choice to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in our present day? That is where Satan comes and entices us… Oh Father, but you confound the wisdom of the wise. I want Life! How do we eat from the Tree of Life when so much fruit fills our proverbial tables with succulent good and evil choices?
Here’s a tangible example that is being force fed students at our nation’s colleges and universities: “Stop having kids because the world is overpopulated and that is bad. Adopt kids because there are so many and that would be good.” What about the fruit of either decision? I knew a single mother who adopted a beautiful Vietnamese girl when she was just an infant. The love between them was evident as though there was some genetic mutation that had occurred in the heavens that supernaturally sealed these two individuals as mother and daughter. The counselor and Christian in me wanted to judge her: “Not having a father is bad. She should have a father.” Well a father would certainly help out the family system; however, I couldn’t deny the palatable expression of their love and the health of their relationship as mother and daughter. It cascaded out onto other children (including mine) and invited them in to partake of life; the fruit of joy, peace, and understanding. It was lovely. Now on the other hand, I have witnessed people adopt children because it is the right thing to do, it is good, but they despise those children. I have witnessed the good things the parents say and listened in horror at the way the children are treated. Some of the children despise there adoption wishing they were dead, while others are thankful they are simply alive. I could judge the parenting, and do, but can you see the fruit? Good or bad, these children maintain an opportunity to live.
Then we are asked to judge the fruit (Matthew 7: 16-20). What!? Now wait a minute God how do we do that, especially when we have to deem it good or bad? The answer I keep running into is this: is the fruit producing life or hindering it? All I know is that the Bible says, “Jesus is Truth” (John 14:6), and that’s all I have to say about that.
So what tree are you eating off of today (Luke 6:44)?