John 15L5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Tenaciously the last autumn leaves cling to the cottonwood tree. Like a thousand yellow butterflies they flutter. The dark branches stretch heavenward—a stark contrast to the leaden sky. Yet still the butterflies flutter, rustling in the breeze. They seem to be the only life in this mid-November sky.
I have become one of those tenacious butterfly leaves: fragile, fluttering in even the slightest breeze. By the thinnest of threads I cling to the tree. I am delicate, but the tree to which I cling is strong and long-lasting. Though it appears devoid of life as winter nears, its branches are thick. Its roots reach down deep into the rich soil, drawing up nutrients and water to sustain it over the winter. Only the tree can give life to the fluttering leaf.
The ground under this cottonwood tree is buried beneath its leaves. Once green and golden, high on the branches of the tree, they now lie matted to the earth, brown and brittle, one indistinguishable from another. As soon as they let go of the branches of the majestic tree, they flutter slowly downward, to certain death.
The tree has given the leaves life. They began as buds in the spring, and then leafed out greenly, giving glory to the tree. Their entire lives are spent on the tree; all their nourishment comes from its strength.
Christians are like the leaves on the tree. God, our maker, is the tree: strong, stable, giver of life. In the beginning of our spiritual lives we are small buds, barely discernable on the mighty tree. Next, in the spring of our spiritual lives, we shyly blush green, and begin to show a hint of His majesty for all to see. As we draw on his strength and wisdom, we slowly leaf out, giving glory to our maker. Later, our greenness deepens and matures, and His glory is evident to all who care to look. At times, the winds of our lives buffet us, but as long as we draw our sustenance from God, our spirits flourish in spite of, or because of, those storms. As long as we cling to our maker, all is well with our souls and our lives illustrate His glory.
As we grow and learn from the life-giving spirit to which we cling, we reach the autumn of our lives. Then we loudly and boldly proclaim the glories of our maker in new hues: yellow, red, orange, and rust. What a glorious God sustains us! Through bitter winter weather, He sustains us, as long as we cling to His nurturing branches. When, at last, it is time to leave this life, we let go, and flutter slowly to the ground where we rest beneath the everlasting arms of our Maker.
Oh God, no matter what my circumstances may be in life, may I always glorify you, for you are worthy to be praised!