By Kyle Tubbs
Unfortunately, we only have one small, developed tree in the back yard. Without shade, the dogs don’t like spending time in the sun. They get worn out easily, and it can be dangerous in the Texas heat.
As I look at my aging dogs and then look at my skinny little trees, I can’t help but wonder if the trees will ever be beneficial to my dogs in their lifetimes. Should I spend my time and energy caring for these trees? Is all my effort worth it?
There’s an Greek proverb that says this: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
The reality is that you may never see the fruits of your labor when it comes to planting a tree, but you believe in the shade it may cast for someone in the future who really needs a break from the sun. You believe in the fruit that it may bear, even if it doesn’t start producing until you’ve moved away.
Planting a tree is truly a selfless act that takes faith and belief outside of oneself.
Planting a church is a lot like planting a tree. It takes delicate care, patience, and time. We plant churches because we believe in God’s glorious mission. We believe in the wondrous Kingdom. We believe in the beauty of God’s people joining in God’s work in our communities. We believe our churches may cast shade for someone who needs to get out of the sun. We believe in the fruit it will bear. We have faith in these things, even if the shade and fruit doesn’t come until we are long gone.
Ponder for a second about your current church. At some point, your church was nothing but a dream, vision and a calling from God. There were people years ago who believed that planting your church would one day provide shade and fruit for you. Aren’t you thankful for those people?
I will continue to tend to the trees in my backyard. They may or may not provide shade for my dogs, but they will provide shade for someone’s dogs one day.
Will you join God in planting trees, some metaphorical, others literal, in your community today?
The following post is by Kyle Tubbs, a CBF church starter and pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Williamson County, Texas. Read more about Kyle and Grace Baptist in a recent fellowship! magazine feature titled “CBF church starters use creativity to build community.“ Kyle is writing as part of a monthly blog about church starting. Read his other blogs here: October, November, December, January, February.