On this December 1st afternoon, I layer my clothing before heading out to the nature trails. The brisk wind bites, and I’m glad I’ve dressed warmly. Entering into the forest, I see the woods are ready for winter. Stripped by the wind, the trees’ bare branches look dark and forlorn against the light-blue, late autumn sky. As I walk, I remember how the trees looked just a few days ago. With more than half their leaves still adorning the now bare trees, the forest looked alive and vibrant. But even then, signs of the approaching winter filled the forest. With each little breeze, thousands of leaves rained from the trees. Walking along the pathway, I experienced a yellow, green, rust and red shower of leaves. Everywhere I walked puddles of colorful leaves covered the path and the undergrowth all around.
Now, all those bright colors have faded to brown. The dried leaves crunch softly as I tread on them. Except for the crunching of the leaves under my feet, the forest is quiet and bare. Looking around, I see nothing but dry grass, barren trees, and dead leaves. It seems the forest has gone to sleep for the winter. I think about those piles of dried leaves all around and realize they still have a purpose, even though they no longer live. Those brown, crunchy leaves provide natural mulch for all the young tender plants. With this leafy cover they can survive the cold winter months.
In our spiritual lives, those of us who are mature Christians provide the mulch for younger, more vulnerable lives. Instead of keeping our spiritual wisdom to ourselves, we let our green finery fall so that others can benefit from it. Only when we lovingly share our good spiritual gifts with others can they be insulated from the dangers and temptations of the world. Only then can they grow and flourish in the spring and one day share their own spiritual truths to insulate others.
Romans 15:1 & 2 “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”