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Have you ever looked at the impressive people around you and felt insignificant in comparison?

In recent weeks, we’ve taken a closer look at several varieties of majestic and notable trees. Colorful aspen groves. Towering sequoias. Fragrant cedars. Oasis-marking palms.

Now picture the short and stubby olive tree. Twisted, gnarled, ancient. Yet hidden within the fruit, a valuable oil.

In Bible times, olive oil was a main ingredient in making bread, was used to fuel lamps, and even the poorest of families (2 Kings 4:2) kept a jar of olive oil in the house. Olive oil was mixed with fragrant spices and used to anoint the heads of priests and kings, dedicating them to lifelong service.

Today, olive oil is well known for its health benefits. High in monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil helps promote “good” cholesterol (HDL), lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL), may prevent gallstones and soothe ulcers, and is loaded with antioxidants (cancer-fighting benefits) and polyphenols (heart health). In the story of the Good Samaritan, the man poured oil on the wounds of the injured man.

Olive oil is a great skin moisturizer and can be added to bath water, used as a lubricant for a close shave, rubbed on chapped lips or rough scaly elbows, applied to cuticles during a manicure, or combed through dry or damaged hair to reduce frizz. Some use warm olive oil to soothe earaches or reduce ear wax.

Throughout the Bible, olive trees symbolized God’s blessings of peace, prosperity, wisdom, and honor. Noah sent out a dove that returned with a freshly plucked olive leaf showing that the flood waters had receded from the earth. King Solomon’s wealth increased as he exported olive oil to neighboring countries. Jesus prayed in the olive garden of Gethsemane prior to his life being crushed to bring healing to the nations. Paul compared Christianity’s Hebrew roots to a wild olive shoot being grafted into a cultivated olive tree (Romans 11:17-24). In the book of Revelation, the two witnesses are compared to olive trees and lampstands (Revelation 11:4) like bringing light to the world.

So, in my quest to be like a tree in 2012, how am I like an olive tree? Is what’s inside my fruit more important than how impressive I appear? Do I bring healing and soothing comfort to those around me? Am I tightly connected to my roots of faith? Does my light shine before mankind and bring glory to God?

What about you? Are you more like a majestic cedar or a stubby olive tree? Is fruit more important than wood? Why or why not? How are you like an olive tree?

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