“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither– whatever they do prospers… For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.” –Psalm 1:1-3, 6
“This is what the Lord says, ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes, its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.’ The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds are.'” –Jeremiah 17:5-10
A tree planted by streams of water reflects the One who died on a tree giving life to those around Him. Reflecting that life-giving Creator means withstanding storms and environmental changes by soaking up all that is beneficial in them and displaying blossoms afterward. The Creator looks after the ways of the righteous and enables them to flourish despite hardship and challenge. It’s a lovely, descriptive metaphor, but what does this really look like in literal daily life? Being the embodiment of only one human experience, I can only truthfully vouch for that one experience. And this summer, the Lord has graciously opened my eyes to what it looks like to point up to Him in pine tree-fashion, reflecting that very life-giving water onto others.
The real-life application of this reflection and pointing has looked like holding a stance in integrity and honesty when it comes to office practices where I work, including when others ask for advice on integrity-related matters and it’s a small issue. It’s been tempting to simply advise them to let it go because of the size and importance of the issue, but have advised action that practices honesty and accuracy, being mindful that “he who can be trusted in small things will be trusted in great things.”
It has also looked like prayers for strength and kindness in verbal or face to face communication with guests at the park where I work. Reacting or responding calmly with compassion, empathy, honesty, grace, and kindness has not only shown to have better outcomes, but is also the way I have been called to live if I am to follow Christ as a loving disciple of His. This response does not always smooth things over or change the guests’ actions or words, but it does present them with a reflection of who Christ is and His love for them. I can have peace in knowing that not only did I follow through to the best of my ability with what my job has asked me to do, but also what my Creator has asked me to do.
I praise the Lord for opening my eyes to how He moves in the “normal, boring everyday” part of life, and for what He has continued to teach me in this. I praise Him for allowing me to see the opportunities in front of me where He has prepared me to reflect Him, and that I have not wasted them. My prayer is we would not waste what God has put in front of us to use, and that we would keep our eyes open for His opportunities in both the “boring everyday” and the big, out-of-the-ordinary moments.