Sad About The Tree

olive-tree-potted-williams-sonoma-agrarianSome of you will recall that I was given a potted olive tree. I loved that tree. Seven days later I declared it dead. But it rallied, seemed to improve, but no, it finally succumbed. No olives, just littering leaves and brittle branches. Towards the end I cared more about my ability to revive the tree, than the tree reviving. It bothered me that I couldn’t care for it. I felt inadequate and frustrated. “Dumb tree,” I thought.

There are moments when I am self-centered and selfish. I don’t mean to be, but then BAM, there I go, obsessing about myself. I’m not the only one, it’s an epidemic, a global outbreak of the Me-First virus. Actually, it’s just sinfulness. Do you remember Jonah? He was the prophet who reluctantly preached to the Assyrians, in Nineveh. Turned out the whole place just up and repented, and God forgave them, which was the last thing Jonah wanted. He wasn’t happy about it. In fact, he was quite angry. They were Israel’s enemies: vicious and cruel. So Jonah got mad at God, left Nineveh, and found a good spot on a hillside overlooking the city. “Perhaps God will change His mind and nuke the whole place,” was Jonah’s attitude. When it got hot, God provided a shade tree to comfort Jonah. But overnight the tree died and he was miserable. Must have been brutal sitting in the hot sun, waiting for God to rain down fire on Nineveh. But He didn’t.

That’s an example of the Me-First virus. It’s the sin of obsessing over my wants without seeing the needs of others. It’s not Jesus-like.

It’s easy to be selfish and obsess over things. Some of us do it every day. I wonder, could we pick a day to be unselfish. Just one day? Call it a “Me-Last” day. Go for it!

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