Friday, October 19, 2007

Beautiful leaves by Walt Porter

Beautiful leaves

Fall is a wonderful time of year! The heat and dust of summer is over, and God heralds the end of that time of activity and labor with a most lovely change in the landscape. The colors of fall are so delightful to the eyes! There are many different, rich colors that blend into a canopy of variegated shades that paint whole hillsides in wonderfully colorful panoramas! Are there lessons for us in this season?

As the warmth and brightness of summer fades into autumn, the days shorten, the nights get longer, and the leaves begin to change color from what has characterized them during their working season. We then begin to see what has been under the surface, when all we’ve seen so far is their green "working clothes."

The time comes to each of us when the long service and toil of summertime will be over. Our days of secular employment, raising children, learning how to keep rank, and how to provide for our own in an honest and honorable way eventually mutate into a different way of life. Things begin to "change color." How will that time of life find us? How will we age? What color will we be? What beautiful things has the Lord hidden under the surface of your life that are waiting to show themselves out?

As the fall season progresses, we see different colors appearing; some leaves turn a deep orange, some royal red, and some become brilliant yellows and golds. We might wonder, "where did all this come from?"

Scientists tell us the yellow and gold colors are there all along, just hidden by the overriding color of the chlorophyll, their "service uniform." This substance is used in the process of making food for all the cells of the trees. As the summer food-producing season draws to a close, and the processes begin to shut down, the yellow and gold colors that have always been there but had been overshadowed by the chlorophyll now begin to show out. It can be breathtaking!

Then there are the deep oranges, reds, and purples. We are told that as the sugars that are still being manufactured are trapped in the leaves, they react to the brilliant sunshine of fall days and these rich colors appear. How wonderful if we can show out some colors like this in our "autumn"!

At this time in our lives, when things begin the process of slowing down, how important it is that there is with us a sweet, thankful spirit! It isn't hard to see that if we can have such an attitude, believing that the Lord has done all things well in our lives, there will then be some beautiful colors that will show out to enrich the lives of others around!

Some leaves delight our eyes with colors we hadn’t seen in them all summer. Others seem to stay "green," perhaps "working" until they fall off the tree. Some of the leaves only turn brown before they fall to the ground with little fanfare.

How sad to see some of those folks in the nursing home, for example, who seem to have no purpose, no object before them to bring some "color" to their lives at the end. Maybe they’re not saved; but then again, maybe they are. We recently saw the opposite of that.

We were visiting an old brother in his room in such a place, and there were pictures of the saints on his walls along with several Scripture texts. He had a machine to magnify his Bible so he could continue to read it. I saw that he was in the process of writing a letter to some young person on his computer. He and a younger brother have weekly meetings for Bible study with others there in the home. It was said of him that everyone in that home remarks on his continually happy countenance and spirit! That was really colorful to us, a real joy to behold! He was still "bringing forth fruit in old age."

Do we find ourselves with that desire? We have choices to make in that regard, as it says in Rom 6:13, "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God." If we didn’t have the choice as to what we yield ourselves to, we wouldn’t have to be exhorted about how to make it. Our options are open to us, and the Lord is acting with us as with the two on the way to Emmaus. He will not force us, but would have us to desire and even constrain Him to come help and guide our footsteps into the path of His choosing.

Maybe we’ve hidden our light under a bushel or a bed most of our lives. The Lord can still make wonderful things happen if we just yield ourselves to His working. May we give Him that opportunity that He desires, to use us for His glory, and in the process, find such sweet employment in taking up the blessed privilege of working in His vineyard however He may lead us!

Is it also possible that, just as the colors of fall signal the coming of the long, dark winter in this world, the Lord has allowed there to be a great recovery of beautiful truth just as the summertime of the day of grace is closing? The last 10% of the 2000 years of grace has been a wonderful time in that regard, has it not?

As the days shorten, and winter for this world approaches, the Son still shines brightly on us. If this causes there to be some "sugar" produced, as mentioned above, some sweetness from our relationship with the Lord and the knowledge of His word and ways, may He transform that into some of those vibrant hues as we prepare to exit this world.

Fall only comes one time in a year. The truths recovered in the early 1800's (and still enjoyed now) are not new, but the redisplay of them now, at the end of the church period is perhaps a crowning touch to the beautiful ways of God in this dispensation.

In the last 200 years we have also enjoyed waves of peace, prosperity, and advances in many fields that are in many ways unequaled, as well as the widespread availability of the Holy Scriptures. This has allowed there to be great strides in the understanding by a much greater segment of the Lord's people than had been possible before. If we can look at it in that way, it would again signal to us that we should lift up our heads for our redemption is drawing nigh!

We can, with the Lord’s help, display some brilliant colors in our lives, in our little corner, that will please the eyes of those who look on, including our Creator Himself! The glory will be all His, for He worked it all in us. He is just looking for willing vessels, and He’ll do the rest. May He graciously help us desire to be more here for Himself and His interests as we wait, expecting His soon return!

Walt Porter – Fall 2006

1 comment:

Wayne said...

Dear brother Walt, thanks so much for your essay on beautiful leaves. I was just looking out the kitchen window this very morning impressed with all the trees and their many fall colors. I found it quite sad, as I watched beautiful leaves fall to the ground thinking of my dear Christy. This puts it all into proper perspective, I needed this. She has really retained the sweetness of the Lord, it radiates from her constantly. An expression of 2 Cor 4:16 – 18 It is no wonder that Balaam could say” let me die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his. Num 23:10