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To plant a tree, they say, is to believe in tomorrow. This is because a tree doesn’t grow overnight. Just recently I had the privilege of visiting Phoenix Park in Thurnscoe and seeing some of the trees which were planted about twenty-five years ago when the former pit site was made into a park and conservation area. It was amazing to see the growth which had occurred from those tiny saplings planted by schoolchildren, but it didn’t happen overnight. Growth often takes time.
In Genesis 21:33 we read ‘Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God.‘ I believe this is a significant verse, showing us Abraham’s commitment to a specific place, showing us his understanding of the covenant promises of God and showing us a fresh revelation of the eternal, everlasting nature of God.
I believe God wants us to love where we live, to be committed to our church and our community, to serve Him faithfully in the specific locations to which He has called us. This is not an overnight project, but a steady, ongoing commitment where we learn faithfulness because of God’s faithfulness and where we learn to serve Him willingly and gladly as we seek to reach our community with His love.
The very word ‘Beersheba’ speaks to us of wells (Beer means well), of perfection (‘the well of seven’) and of promises (‘the well of the oath’.) The fact that Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in that place is significant. What trees are we planting in our area? What are we doing that will have eternal consequences in our communities? I am always humbled by the fact that my grandfather, whom I never really knew as he died when I was only three months old, served God faithfully at Furlong Road Methodist Church in Bolton-on-Dearne for many years. I believe I reap what he sowed and that as I seek to sow faith and hope into this community, others will reap the benefits. Let’s plant our trees and serve God faithfully where we are, secure in the knowledge that we serve an eternal God.