As I left my house headed to the church this morning, I was greeted by the unwelcome sight you see above. A large section of the crown of the biggest tree in our yard was laying on the ground, resting on my Avalon. The problem is that while I was surprised to see all that wood change it’s location by about 20 feet south, I wasn’t actually surprised that it had fallen. I knew that tree was dead, and it’s been dead for over a year.
Perhaps lightning struck it during the storm last night, or, more likely, perhaps the dead branches just got tired of holding on and a breeze gave them all the excuse needed to come crashing down. Either way now I’ve got a lot of cleanup to do (in other news, if you’ve got a chainsaw and some free time you could be my new best friend). I tried all kinds of rationalizations to tell myself I didn’t need to get it removed. “Maybe the tree just needs a year to lay dormant before it comes back with a new zest for life?” “If I haul this off, I’d waste all that firewood!” “Even though there aren’t leaves there, the branches still provide some shade for the house, right?” In the end I knew that tree needed to come down, I just didn’t want to bother with it. There’s always other things to do.
The problem is that all too often we face the same dilemma in our Christian lives. We know there are things that God wants us to remove, we know they will make a big mess if we leave them, but we try to come up with all kinds of reasons why we don’t have to take care of them. In Mark 9:45 Jesus tells us, “And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:”.
I was surprised to find that Strong’s defines that word offend to mean “to entrap or trip up”. The Bible says if there is something in your life that is ensnaring you, cut it down! If it’s an addiction to alcohol, cut it down. If it’s a toxic relationship that is bringing you down, cut it down. If it’s a destructive habit you’ve developed, cut it down. If it’s a bitter spirit, cut it down. If it’s unforgiveness you are holding onto, cut it down.
We can make excuses all our lives, but the day will come when you step outside and the truth that you’ve been ignoring comes crashing down in front of you. The damage is always greater the longer the situation festers. Today you can see that dead tree in your life, cut it down!