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Sitting in the Shade

Good morning. It is Monday, February 7, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.

There is a lovely saying that goes something like this: “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.”

Good people do things for other people. They do things without any thought of getting something back or being repaid in some way. They do good because they understand it makes them feel good. They do good because they know they are blessing someone else. Good people do good things for other people.

For worship this morning I read from John 11. It is the story of Lazarus. Lazarus had become ill, very ill. The Bible tells us that Jesus was a close friend to Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary was the one who had been caught in adultery and whom Jesus had forgiven. She was the one who would later anoint the feet of Jesus with expensive perfume before He went to the cross.

When Lazarus became sick, the women sent word to Jesus saying “Lord, the one whom you love is sick.” Instead of heading to Lazarus’ side as quickly as possible, Jesus told the messenger “Tell the two sisters not to worry, Lazarus will not die. His sickness will bring glory to God and to His son.”

You can read the story of Lazarus in John chapter 11. I would encourage you to do that. It is a short read, but it is rich.

However, by the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead 4 days! He had died. What must the sisters have thought?

They were overcome with grief, and, perhaps disbelief. Jesus had promised.

It was Martha that approached Jesus when He finally showed up. “Lord, if only you had been here my brother wouldn’t have died.”

How many times have we accused God in this way? “If only You…”

How many times have we accused Him of not showing up on time?

We blame and accuse. Our heartache and pain takes front row and we cannot see beyond our brokenness. And yet, looking back, we can see how His timing is always perfect. We may not always get the answers we want in the moment, but we can see Jesus working in our lives and answering in the way that He knows is best for us.

God is the same good God today as He was all those years ago. Jesus is still that same promise of eternal life. In verse 25 He said to Martha “…I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” NKJV

Jesus spent the last 3 years of His life before the cross, doing good. “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.” Matthew 4:23-25 NIV

Jesus healed and comforted and raised people from the dead because He knew that the good He did then, would be like old men planting trees knowing they would never sit in the shade of those trees. Many generations would reap the good seed He planted over 2,000 years ago. Generation after generation would learn of His goodness and want to follow Him.

Unlike those old men however, Jesus knows He will enjoy the future of that shade with the people that love Him. We all have that promise, nothing can separate us from God’s love. Romans 8:38-39 tells us that “…neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” NKJV

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19 NKJV

May God grant you that peace and understanding. May the love of Christ live in you and through you. May you be able to grasp and truly understand the depths of His love for you. And may you keep on doing good, because one day we will sit in the shade of the trees we planted.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9 NKJV

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