Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tree Planters

In Genesis 21:33, we read that Abraham planted a tamarisk tree after ratifying a treaty with King Abimelech. Tamarisk trees are known for stamina and long life. Mature tamarisks can live more than 100 years and their dense leaf cover provides shade from the sun and heat. Because of their salty secretions, few other plants and trees can compete with the tamarisk making it extremely hardy. Planted by the well that Abraham had dug, this tamarisk and its offshoots would in the future produce a wonderful oasis, a grove of shade and rest, in addition to serving as a witness to the oath that was made there.

There is something admirable about a tree planter.

Tree planters do their work for the benefit of others. They are people not given to instant gratification, but who take delight in future enjoyments, even the future enjoyments of those they may never know. Abraham planted a tree that was hardy, nearly indestructible and long-lived. What kind of person plants a tree like that? Someone with a vision. Someone whose eyes were not on the present but fixed on the future. Someone who has an eternal perspective. Someone who points others to God. Planters of trees care about their neighbors and care about the next generation. They are people with a vision for the future. 

Let us be planters of trees.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Lebanon Impressions

‪On my trip to Lebanon, I saw churches and mosques, met children, educational and political leaders including a member of parliament. I attended a university program featuring Muslim and Christian students performing side by side dances like the tango and cha cha.  ‪This group of students from Lebanon, Syria, and the greater Middle East were singing the music of Bob Dylan, Alicia Keyes, and traditional Armenian melodies. Women were leaders in the school systems and the parliament member I met was a woman. All of these professionals were proactively dedicated to bettering their nation, particularly through education. The cities were a mix of tradition and modernity. Fashions were like any you’d see in most U. S. cities. The people were warm and gracious and I left having made many new friends from Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. There is nothing like travel to dispel preconceived notions and false assumptions. In the words of Maya Angelou, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”‬