Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lessons in a Leaf Pile

I have always had a vivid imagination, even as a young child. I can remember one occasion in particular, when I was around 8 years old. On that day, I really let my imagination run wild. Behind my house was a very large open field. It was a late autumn Saturday afternoon, and no kids were around to play with. The trees were losing their leaves in abundance, and the wind was blowing pretty strong. Hundreds of brown, yellow and red leaves were swirling and rolling across the ground. Most of the leaves were gathering in piles against the fences at the edge of the lot. As I watched this beautiful sight, I noticed that many leaves had become stuck, or entangled on rocks, or debris as they blew along the ground. Like I said, there were no friends outside to play with, so I decided to invent a solitary game. In my mind, I imagined that all the leaves were consciously trying to reach the fence rows. It was the goal and desire of each leaf to get to the fence line, and pile up there for a long winter's sleep. Therefore, It became my mission to release all the entangled leaves, and help them join their friends at the end of the field. Sounds pretty silly doesn't it? Well, I had a blast.
 I ran to and fro setting leaves free. If the wind was not blowing hard enough, I even helped individual leaves, by kicking them along until they reached their destination. I was out there for hours. To anyone watching me from their window, They must have thought,  "Look at that crazy kid out there. He must be nuts." Nope, I wasn't nuts, just an 8 year old boy having fun. Ok, maybe CRAZY fun.
I think it is important to tell you what I believe was at the core of my game those many years ago. Although, I might not have realized it back then. Deep inside, I think what I was feeling was this. Everything continues to have purpose, even when it seems like its usefulness is now over. Sometimes we just need a push to remind us. Even as a child, I never liked to think, that when leaves turn brown and fall off the trees, that there purpose has ended, and they are no longer important or useful. In my silly game, I imagined that when Spring returned, all those leaves would now go back to their tree homes and turn green again. They just needed to rest by the fence for a season.
For us as Christians, there is not retirement. There is never a season when we become useless and without purpose. Yes, there are different seasons in our service to the Lord. And yes, there are times for a momentary rest, But we never, never lose purpose. God always has a job for each one of of us in the work of His Kingdom, no matter what age we are. God makes this point very clear.
"Even when I am old and gray, O God, allow me to be used, give me time to tell the next generation about your wonderful works." (Psalms 71:18)
O God, please help us 'stuck' leaves. By your Holy Spirit release us and help push us along. Give us all fresh vision and purpose. Strengthen us, and empower us for service, until that time you call us home. We look forward to that day, when we all are made new, renewed like the leaves of Spring. Amen

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