May 17, 2015 • Life for Leaders
They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.”
A few days ago, we considered the first command of Scripture: Be fruitful! (Gen 1:28). Today, I’d like to draw our attention to a compelling image of fruitfulness and resilience found in Psalm 1.
This psalm begins with a contrast between those who “follow the advice of the wicked” and those happy folk who delight “in the law of the LORD” (Psalm 1:1-2). They not only love God’s law, but also meditate upon it “day and night” (1:2). As a result, “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all they do, they prosper” (1:3).
When I read this passage from Psalm 1, I think of actual trees I have seen recently. A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I made the long drive from San Antonio, Texas, to Pasadena, California, where we now reside. We passed through hundreds of miles of southwestern desert, most of which was filled with dry soil, colorful rocks, and scraggy shrubs. Every now and then, however, we’d see ribbons of bright green trees flourishing in the midst of the desert. What was their secret? Inevitably, those trees grew next to a water source, even a seasonal one. Their roots grew deep into the nearby soil, which allowed them to survive in a harsh climate and even to bear fruit.
I want to be like those trees. I want to be fruitful in life, making a difference for God’s kingdom in everything I do. But I know there will be hard times, times of turmoil, stress, and suffering. In these times, I want to be a “tree” whose leaves do not wither. Even if I’m not bearing much fruit at the moment, I want to be remain vital. I expect you feel similarly about your own life. You want to be a “tree” in the mode of Psalm 1.
How can we be such “trees”? By letting our roots grow deeply into God’s living water. And how can we do this? By delighting in God’s truth and meditating upon it. The more we allow the biblical words of life to fill our minds and hearts, the more we are anchored to God’s revelation, the more we draw sustenance from God’s perspective and promises, the more we will be bear ample fruit in good times and hang in there during hard times.
May God give you the grace to be a fruitful, resilient tree as you let your roots grow deeply into his truth.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What helps you to be a “tree” like the ones pictured in Psalm 1? What encourages you to grow your roots deep into the living water of God’s Word?
Gracious God, may my roots grow deeply into you and your truth. By your grace, may I be a fruitful, resilient “tree.” May everything I do in life, no matter the context, be an outgrowth of your life in me. And may every bit of fruit in my life be for your glory. Amen.
P.S. from Mark:
As you know, we are working our way slowly through Genesis in these Life for Leaders devotions. On Sundays, however, I may vary the menu and let our reflections be shaped by the Psalms. We’ll get back to Genesis tomorrow. Have a blessed Lord’s Day!
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.