In South West Florida, many neighborhoods have homes with beautifully decorated entrances. The owners place flowering plants on their doorsteps and entryways that get changed with the seasons. These plants are engineered to bloom for a time, and then as soon as they look “spent,” they are pulled out and changed for something new. In contrast, the landscaping was more permanent in the Midwest, where Jim and I first met. Most of the flowers were perennial, and trees were allowed to mature over time (I suppose much of this has to do with the winter months, but that’s another blog for another time!)
The thing is, for plants to thrive over time, they must be well-tended and cared for; their root system needs to be healthy, and regular pruning and fertilizing must be done.
There is so much we can apply to life from this simple comparison. We can be like the Florida landscaping, looking nice and neat for a season, producing beautiful blooms for others to see, adding a splash of color and excitement for a time. Then, when we have served our purpose, be plucked from the ground and replaced by something new and fresh, becoming irrelevant and unappealing.
Or we can be like the more mature Midwest landscaping, permanent in nature, allowed to grow tall and strong. Able to withstand the strong winter winds and hot summer days, bearing fruit and flowers year after year, providing shade and structure.
Psalms 92:14 the psalmist paints a picture of lovers of God that “even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.” That’s what I want for my life. I want to grow strong in my faith over the years so that even in my later years, I’m still producing fruit, vital and green.
What does that look like? I can imagine that it might mean feeding into the lives of those younger than me. Or it might be finding someone walking a similar vocational path and teaching them from my failures and victories. Or perhaps it will be engaging with my passions and giftings in a new way. Aging doesn’t need to signal a “changing out for something (or someone) new.” It can simply be a sign to dig deep and produce fresh fruit for this new season of life.
1. Tips on being well fed by Scripture
2. Challenging conversations on what to keep in life and what to allow God to prune
3. Resources that help you learn, grow, and mature
Lord, today in my relationships and work, help me produce the fruit you have determined so that I will remain vital and green now and into my old age. May I build relationships that can be nurtured with time and be drawn close to you.
Used with permission from Jim Brangenberg.