My Musings About Trees and Leaves

When we looking for a home in the Kansas City area last Spring, one of the things we wanted was trees on our property.  We told the Realtor, “Don’t even show us anything that doesn’t have trees!”  And we were blessed to find a home that we liked in Lee’s Summit that has trees.  Lots of trees!

The other day I was out mowing  the yard and ranking leaves.   Norma Jean came out and commented about the amount of leaves as she surveyed my freshly mowed yard being sprinkling with more falling leaves.   I chuckled, looked at her and said, “Well, if you’re gonna have trees, you’ve gotta rake leaves!”  Pretty profound, eh? 

But my real point was this. There is a trade-off.  If you don’t like having lots of leaves, don’t buy a house with lots of trees.   If you are going to enjoy the trees as they come alive in the Spring to the gorgeous colors of Fall, it comes with a price.  Both in effort and in dollars.  In fact, as I raked, I wondered what it’s going to cost when I have hire a tree trimmer!  But that’s part of it.

While Norma Jean was away I was doing more raking on Saturday and I thought about that day and our conversation. I mused how this is a metaphor for life.

Blessings bring responsibility.  Benefits demand duty. Because there’s no real enjoyment without some work.   And there a sowing and reaping principle involved here as well!

Too often, however, folks  in our society want reward without work.  Blessings without responsibility.  Enjoyment without effort.  It reminds me of the words of John D. Rockefeller who said, “I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity an obligation; every possession, a duty.”

I have noticed that it is more enjoyable to sit under the shade of the tree than to trim the tree.  It is more relaxing to sit on the deck drinking a cup of coffee and admiring the beauty of the leaves, than it is to rake them!

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes enjoyed everything life had to offer. He built his dream house.  In fact, more than one! He planted vineyards and gardens and orchards.  He had fruit trees and fountains of water.  He could look out over his pastures and see the flocks and the herds grazing.  He had every pleasure imaginable.  And then he asked, “What profit has the worker from that in which he labors?   His answer? 

I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor — it is the gift of God. (Eccl 3:12-13)

Aside from spiritual considerations, strictly in terms of enjoying “life under sun,” of doing good, rejoicing, and eating and drinking, it’s all the result of our labor.  He calls it “the fruit of our labor.”  In fact, it is God’s gift.  Embrace it!

Thomas Fuller put it this way, “He that would have the fruit must climb the tree.” Or in the words of The Preacherman, “If you’re gonna have trees, then you gotta rake leaves!”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

3 Comments

Filed under Responsibility, Work

3 responses to “My Musings About Trees and Leaves

  1. I can definitely relate to the experience. My wife and I downsized five years ago from a large home to a 15th floor condominium. We had lots of trees around us and still do but now we don’t have to rake the leaves anymore or shovel the snow for that matter. In that sense my experience is more like that of Solomon than the one that you describe with your own home. If you are going to enjoy the trees in the summer or fall, you have to rake the leaves. But Solomon and I get to enjoy the trees while someone else, who doesn’t get to enjoy the trees because he lives elsewhere, actually does the work.

    Regrettably, many of us in modern society want to enjoy the fruit of someone else’s labor. That can be part of our definition of success! But in community, including Christian community, we have the opportunity to serve one another by raking each other’s leaves.

    What I would like to particularly comment on here is that my experience is that life is full of trade-offs and when we make decisions like choosing a home or a vehicle we fixate on one side of the trade-off and sometimes we underestimate how much we will later regret what we have given up. We decide we’re tired of raking leaves and buy a home that doesn’t have any trees and then complain about how much we miss the trees on those hot summer days when we desperately want shade!

    Thank you for the thought-provoking post!

  2. mike fletcher

    Amen brother Ken and brother Dan
    my wife and I just moved from 18 acres in Gilchrist county FL. to a one bed room duplex in Gray, GA. No more mowing or raking. Our Sat. have been freed up and guess were we went this past Sat. to a beautiful park in Macon GA. that goes along the Ocmulgee river, the weather was perfect blue skies and 74 degrees, and guess what my wife was doing, thats right taking pics. of all the beautiful leaves, which she will take and use as a back drop and put Bible verses on and give as gifts. Me I was enjoying the fact that she was enjoying her self and the beauty of Gods creation. Last, is there anyway to get the message to our current administration, just a thought. Keep the messages coming brother Ken.

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