Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)
TITLE: The Beautiful Tree
By Shayne Catoe
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Then the lumberjack came with his saw and spiked shoes. It was over quickly. I no longer jetted into the heavens, but lay helpless as my animal friends even abandoned me. Every CHOP split another branch from my side. Death was upon me.
The banging, oh the banging! When I awoke I found myself shaved of my protective bark. I was no longer tall and round, but rectangular in shape, with a slanted table for a back. No bird, squirrel, snowflake or raindrop would ever touch me again.
After being sufficiently packaged, I was moved for a long time in a dark place until the moving stopped and doors opened. The light was bright. I was taken into a beautiful room with colored glass and others carved as I had been, only in the shape of seats; they told me. They told me other things; that I was to take a place of prominence before them, from which mighty voices would speak to a sea of faces. Somehow honor had fallen to me, they said, to hold the Word as the Preacher sermonized over me.
The day came, people gathered, and ribbon was cut from my front. Claps and cheers were given by people who sat on my wooden friends. Music began playing at my right and left. People sang harmoniously. Someone stood behind me. He laid a book on my back and sang and waved his arms. Others did the same.
One young man standing in the back was well dressed seeming anxious to leave, but drawn to stay.
It got quiet. The singing man was gone, everyone sat. Another book was laid upon my back. This book was different, softer somehow. This man didn’t sing, but read words from the Book.
“…Other foundation can no man lay than…Jesus Christ…
…if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
Every man’s work shall be made manifest…it shall be revealed by fire…the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: yet he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” I Corinthians 3:9-16 (KJV)
The man began talking strongly about the book. “The day comes when heaven and earth will pass away. Everything will be gone, until the Lord, God restores to us the new heaven and new earth. When this earth is passed away, we will not care for new pulpits, church buildings, houses, lands or monies. We will care only for what we have stored up in our temple not made with hands, our SOUL! What have you stored up for your Savior?”
The young man who’d been standing in the back now knelt in front, washing the altar with tears. The Preacher picked up the soft book from my back and walked towards the young man, knelt by his side and this is what I heard:
“Sir, why have you come to God’s Altar this morning?”
“To give my all; I’ve wealth, position, and people at my disposal, but I and these things won’t last, if they’re not in God’s eternal care. Tell me what to do.”
“God’s seed has come to fruition within you, bow with me, and beg for the judgment of God to pass you by, that you’d not be consumed by your depravities. In the Saviors name ask salvation to come to you.”
I watched the young man drop to his knees and pray for redemption.
I realized, though I no longer stood tall toward the sky, this young man would be that tree by the river of water, and his leaves would never wither. He would bear fruit in his season and it would remain.
As for me, though I’ll never stand in a field and hear its sounds again, I’ll forever stand in a field of harvest as long as the preacher sermonizes the book on my back, and I hear the conversions of the salvation few.
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