Last May, when we first viewed our new home, the one and only tree on the property was exploding with gorgeous white blossoms and sashaying in the breeze like Amy Adams at the Oscars. It looked and smelled wonderful! Still, I suspected it might bear those sour, tiny plums that create a major mess in the yard and wondered how long it would take us to hate the tree. A taste of its fruit in late July confirmed my notion.
But I was wrong.
I needed a little more patience. When our friend Noel Smith saw the tree, he immediately identified it as a Pembina Plum and assured us it was healthy and would produce edible fruit. By late August, we were picking the loveliest, juiciest, sweetest plums and eating them simply for the pleasure of it. My daughter-in-law used a bunch for smoothies, crepe sauce, and plain-ol’ feeding her brood of boys. I finally tossed the last handful into my juicer to keep our kitchen’s fruit fly population under control. And yes, the wasps and compost site accepted their share of the windfall.
I’ve since learned from Linda Szumilak that her dad, Roman Lebedynski, planted the tree for his neighbor more than 40 years ago. I never met Roman, nor the neighbor who built our house. I just get to enjoy the results of their labour.
In Joshua 24, God tells his people, “I gave you land you had not worked on, and I gave you towns you did not build—the towns where you are now living. I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them.”
When you think about it, we each inherited things we held no control over. If you’re like me, it’s easy to grumble about the stuff we’d just as soon trade, like your mother’s nose or your dad’s legs. Maybe you were blessed with a genetic disease or the famous family temper. Perhaps your parents handed down a legacy of poverty or alcohol abuse and you struggle with the same through no fault of your own.
But we forget the many good things that come our way through no fault of our own, every day. Think about your town, your school, your church. Others cleared the land, raised the funds, constructed the buildings, invoked God’s assistance, paved the streets, planted the crops, wrote the books, and invented the conveniences that enrich our lives. Others sacrificed so you could have. If you think about it enough, you can see this through every moment of your day, from the time your feet hit the floor in the morning. We are the beneficiaries of those who have gone before.
The 12th century theologian and author John of Salisbury said, “We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours.”
What are you planting today that future generations will reap?