In the Shade of Trees of Righteousness
I often hear people say, "I wasn't raised in this Church..." or "I wasn't raised to have faith in Jesus Christ..." and then they proceed to say something like "...but I'm so thankful that I'm here" or "...I'm so thankful that He found me."
I, myself, was raised in The Church and taught to have faith in God, so I don't really know what life would be like without it. I've asked myself, "Do I fully realize what I have? Or do I take it for granted?"
More importantly, I've asked myself, "Does this take away from my testimony?" Some people might argue, "Well, Sister Michelle, you've never really known anything else except the gospel, have you? How do you know that this is what you want from life?"
I've pondered this, and a while back, I realized something. My upbringing in the gospel gives me a different kind of testimony.
Instead of saying, "I wasn't raised with this, but I'm so glad I found it," my testimony is, "I was raised with this, and look how it's blessed my life, all honor and glory to God." I remembered Isaiah 60:1-3, the scripture that Jesus read when he visited Nazareth during His ministry:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
I realized that I've grown up in the shade of many "trees of righteousness," pillars of faith, strong believers, people who put God first and showed me how. I realized that this testimony is just as powerful. I'm the beneficiary of people who were rooted and grounded in Christ. I'm the fruit of their labor.
These are the trees I grew up with:
- My loving parents, who took me to every Sunday service, Wednesday night meeting, Saturday prayer service, and weekend camp, and who walked the walk in our home
- Sunday school, MBA, and seminar teachers who took time to explain the word of God in a way I could understand
- MBA and Ladies' Circle officers who planned events that allowed me to grow closer to God
- Elderly saints who shared their wisdom with me
There are many more.
So, what I really want to say is this: If you're bringing your kids to every church meeting and teaching them the ways of God in your home, please keep doing it. If you're a teacher, please keep teaching. If you're an auxiliary leader, your role is important. If you're an elderly saint who takes time for the young people, it makes a difference.
I'm not the only one with this testimony. There are many others who can say, "Thank God for the trees of righteousness in my life." Because you followed Christ, I learned how to follow Him, too.
So, please be those trees for the saplings in your life, and may God bless you!