I want to give you an amazing illustration of how thankfulness can affect your life. Trees. Crazy, you say? Just read on!
The machine within a tree
Trees have three main divisions: roots, trunk, and crown. The root system is not visible usually, but instead does its work underground, diligently absorbing and storing water and nutrients, and anchoring the tree as it grows.
The trunk is a place of navigation up and down. Water and nutrients from the roots are brought up to the crown for photosynthesis and afterwards, sugar (glucose) is brought down to the roots for storage and growth. Hang on – don’t give up yet!
The crown of the tree is where the mystery happens. Leaves gather carbon dioxide from the air. As water combines with the carbon in the chlorophyll, and sunlight shines through, photosynthesis takes place, mysteriously changing carbon and water to glucose (energy sugar!) and oxygen (fresh air!). The glucose is transported down the trunk to the roots to help strengthen and grow the tree. The oxygen is released into the air.
All trees practice photosynthesis. Photo is the Greek word for “light” and synthesis is the Greek word for “putting together”.
Now that was a very quick, simplistic explanation of how a tree functions and lives. Unless photosynthesis takes place, the tree will wither up and die.
Trees and being th(i)nkful
Let’s see how this illustrates the life-skill of being th(i)nkful. We begin at the bottom. Let the roots represent what you trust in. If you are in Christ, you have been connected to the living water that was described in John 4:14. There is a good water source bubbling up from within. Roots also anchor. When you are rooted in the Scriptures, through meditating on the promises of God and exercising personal trust in those promises, you are held fast in storms and gales of wind.
The trunk represents our thinking. Our thoughts, navigation routes in our minds, run at incredible speed. Unless the water and nutrients from the roots get connected to the crown, no life or growth will happen. Therefore, the trunk is vital in moving spiritual water and nutrients from the roots to the crown.
The crown of the tree is our interaction with circumstances. Intense heat and carbon are the hard things that happen to us. But if we have been drawing up God’s truth and promises, the chlorophyll of thinking thanks turns those hard things into “grace things” – fresh air for other people and nutrients for our own soul! The crown is where being th(i)nkful takes place, where we can turn around hard news and difficult days into spoken thanks and written praise.
There is a mystery that happens every time a tree engages in photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide and water change to sugar (glucose) and oxygen. When we connect thinking thanks with things that happen to us and express those things orally or in a written form, the Lord changes the essence of those things to “food” that makes us stronger and “oxygen” to be released for others to benefit from.
Living out this truth
Let’s give an example. You are told that you have developed cancer (carbon dioxide). In your thoughts you pull up from your spiritual roots promises that enable you to think thanks about this new challenge. You begin to list things that you can be th(i)nkful for.
- My God is the blessed controller of all things
- I still have some time to fight hard this disease
- This news makes me long for heaven and the new body that Christ has promised
- I get the opportunity to be a testimony to others who are going through similar tests
- The Lord has promised to never leave me, nor forsake me ever
- I realize how valuable every day is and can live more on purpose without regrets
As I think thanks about this carbon dioxide in my life, the mysterious transformation takes place. God changes the carbon dioxide and water to become things that actually help me grow and also provide air for others to breathe. I am better for having gone through the hard things, if I am th(i)nkful, and others are made better as well.
By the way, I love trees. I also love VW bugs; it was the first car I ever owned. As I cruise down the road of life, may I choose to be th(i)nkful about all the carbon that comes my way today. It makes the journey so much more enjoyable.