By HEATHER COFER
I was sitting in my living room one sunshiny day a couple of weeks ago, looking out our window at the changing leaves — soaking up all the beauty of fall. I began pondering autumn, and what it means when the leaves begin changing color. It means they are beginning to die. Only God, I thought, would be able to design something that is dying to be so beautiful. In the spring, the leaf begins budding with the excitement of new life; it grows and matures until it is a full leaf. Then, as summer comes to an end, it turns a brilliant yellow or red or orange, going out in magnificent splendor before finally falling to the ground, where it becomes nutrients for the tree to produce more healthy and beautiful leaves the next year.
This holds so many parallels to the life of a Christian. We have such a short season on earth, but we have a specific purpose and calling: to display the life of Christ on earth. Although we may live in relatively little recognition during our lifetime, when we complete our earthly mission we go in splendor and hope for what is to come. There is always sadness when a believer dies, but it is always coupled with joy because of the evidence of the life of Christ in them. This then spurs us on toward greater love and commitment to Jesus — that when it is our time to enter into the presence of our King, we leave behind the same beautiful legacy.
We’ve all seen the trees or branches that have died because of a sickness or bug or natural disaster. The leaves are what bear the evidence of that. They are brown and dying long before they should, or have strange bumps and holes that disfigure them from what they ought to look like. They don’t have the chance to go out like those leaves on a healthy tree. We can never be too careful in what we are allowing to be the source of our nutrition. Are we allowing anything to feed us that will cause us to be infected and cause premature deadness?
My desire is that there would be nothing that is displayed in my “leaf” other than the source of True Life in Jesus. This means being diligent about what I allow to influence my mind and heart. When something is allowed in that isn’t of God, it doesn’t take long for the evidence of that to begin displaying itself in my thoughts, actions, and words. We have such an immense privilege to be connected and changed and renewed by the Giver of Life, and we must not take it for granted! While those who do not know Him are spiritually diseased and withered, we can display to them the flourishing, never-ending life of Jesus — the hope we have of being with Him for all eternity, and living a life that is full of hope and peace and joy.
Let us, dear sisters, be faithful to our Savior in this life so that when we die, we go in the rich golds and crimsons of the beautiful evidence of a life well lived for Him!