Cedars of Lebanon or Blades of Grass??
My husband takes a lot of pride in our yard. Not that it’s a garden adorned with beautiful flowers or elaborate trees, but our lawn is green, healthy and freshly cut regularly. He carefully seeds it in the fall and makes sure that the weeds do not take over. He’s a bit obsessive about making sure his cutting schedule stays in tact and few things stand between him and mowing day during the spring and summer seasons. I’m grateful for his diligence because I enjoy the neatness and beauty of a nice yard surrounding our home. Grass that grows too tall creates a sense of disorder or abandonment. Grass that is mowed less frequently than needed leaves behind a mess that needs to be raked, bagged and hauled off. A yard full of weeds is unsightly. In season, grass grows very quickly and can almost become a nuisance, but the quick growth is the primary reason that grass is so well suited for lawns. In fact, most grass grows within 30 days of seeding. In contrast, trees planted in our yard often have taken years to grow and even longer to produce fruit. Each tree is unique and stands on its own as a centerpiece in our landscaping. Although they do require pruning from time to time, there is little maintenance required for a tree to grow big and strong. Trees are much more substantial, although it takes much more patience to reap the benefit of a mature tree.
So why all the talk about grass and trees? Let’s consider Psalm 92 from the New International Version of the Bible.
1 It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, 2 proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, 3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.
4 For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. 5 How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts! 6 Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, 7 that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.
8 But you, Lord, are forever exalted.
9 For surely your enemies, Lord, surely your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered. 10 You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured on me. 11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.
12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
Recently I was overlooked for something that I felt like I should have been considered for and immediately I found myself full of pride, jealousy, bitterness and self-pity. It was not a pretty look. It seemed to me in this particular situation that what I had tried to live out in my life as kindness had been mistaken for weakness and that someone who was more argumentative was being rewarded. I asked the question many of us may have asked God when things haven’t gone our way, “Why does it seem that the good guys always finish last?” Not that I am ANY better than anyone else, I am simply a sinner saved by grace, but in this particular instance, it seemed like my attempts to be more like my Savior had backfired. As God brought me to Psalm 92, I was reminded that He is always to be praised and that in Him I have my rock. But what created an “aha” moment for me came from verses 7 and 12.
7 that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.
12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
In my situation, the one rewarded was certainly not "wicked"...I don't mean to imply that, but I know that you can likely relate to the idea that often in our world, it seems that the less than kind are flourishing around us. That the “bad guys” are getting more recognition, more wealth, more promotions, more beauty, just MORE. But when we consider what we are called to as Christians, which is to fix our eyes on things not of this world, but rather things of eternity, we can easily understand that like blades of grass (or weeds in some translations) this “fame” may sprout up quickly only to then be mowed over and eventually destroyed. We’ve seen it happen time and time again with folks who seemingly “have it all” only to then self-destruct. However, those of us placing our faith in Christ have the promise of an eternity with Jesus. Ever-lasting life. A Kingdom that can only be imagined. Our rewards will instead grow slowly like palm trees or cedars of Lebanon and will continue to bear fresh and green fruit for years and years.
Would I rather be likened to a blade of grass that develops in 5 to 30 days only to have brief accolades and ultimate destruction or would I rather be faithful and grow slowly, in the will of God, to then bear fruit for hundreds of years?? Cedars of Lebanon grow over 100 feet tall and do not even begin to bear fruit until many other species of trees have died. They produce fruit well after 100 years of growth. Doesn’t that sound far more appealing than being a weed?? Often in God's timing, we just need much longer for "endurance develops strength of character." (Romans 5:4)
I pray that the next time I want to look around me and feel like I am being passed over for blessings, that I am reminded that I am a Cedar of Lebanon, not a blade of grass. God knows just what I need and when I need it and my purpose is to continue to produce fruit for as long as He allows. I can trust His hand and His heart in my life, even when I may not agree with the outcome. “It is good to praise the Lord…” (Psalm 92:1)