It’s been a brutally hot summer across this nation. And for anyone having to spend time outdoors (like a double header baseball game for instance), finding shade is a priority. We put up portable canopies, hoist umbrellas, huddle next to buildings, and even stand in the narrow shadow of a telephone pole. Anything to get out of the sun.

But the best shade comes from a tree. In fact, I read that the net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. Wow!

Large trees with spreading canopies offer the most shade. Those with branches that reach for the sky and stretch across a large area cast the largest shadow. There’s a lesson there for us in our continuing series to Be Like a Tree in 2012.

Trees don’t set out to cast a big shadow. The shade they offer is simply the natural by-product of healthy growth. Trees put down deep roots, gather nutrients, and grow. The more they grow, the more shade they offer to weary travelers.

So why do I try so hard to do all the “right” things? When I put my focus on checking a few things off a list of things “good” Christians do, I’ve found that my faith eventually falters. But when I focus on abiding in the Word of God and strengthening that vertical relationship, the rest falls into place without any additional effort. 

Like a tree, the more I grow in my faith and character, the larger my sphere of influence will naturally extend.

What about you? Do you focus on personal growth or offering shade? Which comes first? Do you offer a place for weary travelers to rest? How?

Like A Tree – Shade
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