Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Father's Orchard

Early evening sun sinks into red western skies. A farmer walks through lush orchards--the harvest nears. Row after long row stretch out before him. He planted them with his own expectant, prayerful hands years ago, when time stretched as far before him as his dreams. Now, he can count the number of harvests that remain to him on his own fingers. He approaches the end.

The orchard will live after him, but he has no son, no child to work what he so carefully built. There were sons, but they moved on to other places. They had their own dreams.

"No thanks, Dad."
"It's too much work."
"I can't make enough money."
"Are you kidding? I've been stuck here long enough."

Without attention, his orchard will sink into unproductive wilderness but, more than that, when his sons reject the orchards, they reject him. Everything he'd tried to teach them originated with these trees.

You do the same.

Yet to all who received Him, to all who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.--John 1:12

To the ancient patriarchs, You reigned as God, great and terrible. They served You, You dealt with their sins, and they knew the terrible weight of disobedience. They lived at arm's length from You, never in Your embrace.

But to me, you offer kinship. I can flourish in Your love and inherit Your favor. But I have to receive what You offer, what You built for me, as my own because it came from You. You gave me life and grew the great trees that You mean to hold it up. You did the planting, nourishing, and pruning, and You hand it to me as a gift. I have only to reach out my hand.

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