A familiar sight.
Do you have one of those? A sight so often encountered you almost can no longer see it?
Day in and day out, up to 5 times a day during the school year, I stand by these trees mostly unnoticed. Regardless of my lack of attention they grow on. When I choose to see, they changed my perspective.
In spring, in summer, through the fall and in the winter these evergreens stay, well, ever green. And while they don’t bear fruit or dazzle me with leaves of color, they are not dormant. So when, one spring day, I chose to look I was amazed by how many teeny, tiny pine cones were growing from top to bottom of the enormous trees.
So I showed the kids, who seemed to care only a little more than less. And time went on. Seasons changed, summer passed, the weather cooled and back down the driveway for bus duty I resumed my multiplicity of trips.
And I saw them again.
Winter came; snow blanketed the landscape and I went to take pictures of the beauty and there I saw them.
The pine cones hanging.
“Pine cones, what’s the matter, why didn’t you fall when autumn came?”
‘Cause see, I didn’t know, that wasn’t their timetable. They weren’t born by a deciduous tree, they were on an evergreen; and as such, their timing takes longer, years in fact. So the pine cones grew on. If I judged the productivity of the pine cone against the growing season of the fruit of a leafy tree, I’d likely conclude they had missed their chance or something was wrong. While the purpose is similar, God’s design and timetable for a pine cone and an apple are not the same.
We can learn a lot about ourselves from the difference.
1 Corinthians 12 compares the members of the spiritual family to a physical body. Our ONE body is made up of MANY parts. Even though the parts are different they come together to form one body. Each part has a purpose.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Friends: You have purpose. You have value. You have worth.
The purpose for which our loving Father has specially made you may not look like anyone else but the beauty of an apple doesn’t make a pine cone ugly. Your value isn’t lessened because your purpose may be more subtle.
An apple ripens in one growing season while a pine cone may take years but that doesn’t make it slow or behind the curve. Your spiritual maturity isn’t lessened because your time has not yet come.
When a pine cone becomes squirrel food instead of a seed bearer, that doesn’t mean the pine cone failed but that its purpose was different. Our loving Father knows when and how best you were meant to be the utilized for His glory.
So when you feel like your time will never come or you are without purpose… remember the pine cone and trust that God knows what he’s doing.