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Worth the Effort

I broke one of my trees a few weeks ago and I’ve been a little ticked at myself ever since. I want to tell you about how and why I did it so that maybe you can avoid my mistake.

See, when we moved here a little over three years ago, we planted five fruit trees across the back fence of the house. We liked the symbolism of something that would take years of patience and work to see growth. The peach took off and has born more fruit than the other four combined.

But there’s a problem. See the school behind the house has a giant pine tree, and a ton of birds of all sizes and types nest in that pine tree. As such, despite tying dozens of streamers of reflective tape around that tree, I always seem to lose a big chunk of my harvest to the birds.

So this year, I had a plan. I would build a big frame around the tree and wrap the frame in bird netting. The frame had to be pretty big, something like 12-13 feet tall and about 10-12 on a side. But I had a few sheets of plywood still laying around from a project a couple years ago and I figured I would just attach strips to each other to form the structure.

I’m sure many of you who are blessed with a well of wisdom and experience of which I am ignorant see my mistake, but I didn’t. I was proud of my plywood monstrosity… for the 2-3 days that it held up! But after a few days, some gust of wind came by and that frame came down. It took one of the three main branches of the peach tree with it and also smashed half of the grapefruit tree’s new growth from this year.

In the aftermath, I was reminded of the parable of the two builders. The one who built his house on the rock and the one who built his house on the sand. I’ve always thought of that parable and thought how silly of the man who built on the sand. But in this, I realized that it was a question of preparation. Like the sand man, my build cost less (I was using excess materials) and took less effort (I didn’t have to go buy new wood or figure out how to loft a heavy frame on heavy legs).

But like the man who built on the sand, my lower effort, lower investment build had netted me something that wouldn’t last. My investment was reflected in the outcome.

This month, we are continuing to face an unprecedented issue for our modern world. And as we face it together, I realized that like my failed attempt to keep the birds away from my tree, we have a chance to decide how much effort and investment we are going to put into the things that matter in life.

A disruption in our pattern of life is a chance to evaluate that pattern. Am I putting my time and effort into things that will last? Am I trying to get away with a slipshod job on something that is going to end up crashing and punishing me later? I’m committing this month, and I hope you will with me, to put my full effort into the things that last. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. This is an opportunity for us to build a better frame for our lives, let’s take it!

Praying for God’s blessing on you and yours,

Pastor Jon

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