I love hiking! I love to get away in the quietness of God’s undisturbed regions and just play. The natural beauty is hard to describe. It’s not just one mountain, one river or one tree. It’s everything! It all works together. That’s why I get so discouraged when my husband and I try to take a picture and it just doesn’t do the scenery justice. You really need the expanse of the view. It just cannot, no matter how hard we try, be contained in a picture. Fall is my favorite time to hike. The mountains are blanketed with a quilt of colors that God made specifically for them. We were driving recently to our hiking destination when I started to notice the leaves changing. I got very excited. At that moment, it’s like the Lord reminded me that these leaves, that are so beautiful, are dying. I’m celebrating them on their way out!
I decided to investigate a little. A leaf’s main purpose is to collect light, do some scientific “stuff” and feed the plant body. Ok! Now it’s making sense, Lord. Jesus said, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NLT) We’re the literal “leaves” that are here for only a short while to collect the light of God’s Word and feed the body of Christ! The church has been standing like a mighty oak for generations and each season gets a different batch of leaves. Our job, as a leaf, is vitally important for a healthy body of believers.
Figuratively speaking, we should be providing covering for each other. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. (Philippians 2:4 NLT) We, as individuals, should be looking out for one another. This provides protection for the body as a whole. Join together with other believers to encourage one another. We should be soaking up as much “Son” shine as we possibly can to provide healing to wounded parts of the body. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12 NLT) Walking in such a manner with others will only bring glory to God. People will know that you can’t possibly possess these traits on your own. This type of fruit only comes from spending time with Jesus. You can see how these trees become big and strong in the physical realm as well as the spiritual. They are attractive to an unbelieving world and will possibly draw them in. Isn’t this what life’s all about?
The apostle Paul had this to say toward the end of his life. As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. (2 Timothy 4:6-7 NLT) Doesn’t this sound like a beautiful leaf in a vibrant color that God’s reflection is just bouncing off of? These are the leaves that draw crowds of people to see them. This is why people take vacations in the fall – to go get their eyes full of God’s amazing handiwork! When we spend time in our Savior’s presence, we radiate a certain demeanor. It causes people to watch how you react to situations and how you live your life. It’s quite contagious and beautiful. It definitely draws people in. This is God’s plan for a living, thriving church.
The leaves are about to go away. But God is sending them out with a daylight fireworks explosion! Like the leaves, He’s anticipating our arrival in our forever home with Him. You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way. (Song of Songs 4:7 NLT) The Lord says we’re beautiful to Him. Only He knows when our “race” is over. But while you’re here, run it well. Keep your eyes on the prize! No matter what your age or background, you’re not just some dried up falling leaf. You’re alive in Christ with vibrant color showing you’ve experienced life. You’ve got wisdom and experience to share! This is inviting to a dying world. Be assured, Jesus is our reminder that the Lord is the Gardener and He will gather His beautiful leaves up to be with Him for eternity!
Today’s writer is Brandi Crowe. A hairdresser for over 25 years, she is currently the owner of Brandi Crowe salon in Buford, GA. She loves hiking, a good cup of coffee and spending time with family and friends. Brandi lives in a custom farmhouse with her husband, Robby and cat, Harold.