ARE YOU AN EVERGREEN? Andy Hollifield 10-13-17
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Hebrews 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
Psalms 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (2) But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (3) And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Evergreen—-(1) (of trees, shrubs, etc…) having green leaves throughout the entire year, the leaves of the past season not being shed until after the new foliage has been completely formed. (2) retaining its relevance, popularity, usefulness, etc..; enduring (3) remaining fresh and vital
Remaining fresh and vital. That kind of says it all don’t it? When you are talking about a Christian that is exactly how we should be; always vital. We should always be a vital and stable influence to those we come in contact with and should always be growing in our walk and getting stronger instead of hot and cold and losing ground like we sometimes seem to do. Words like anchor, steadfast, planted, unmovable, and abounding are perfect words describing stability which is a tremendous asset to the Christian life. Those words are all taken from the scriptures above. Those words don’t describe perfection but stability and abounding describes growth. Peter said in 1 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….” You may wonder why I am writing about an evergreen when the word is not even in the bible. If the truth be known, the word “bible” is not in the bible either. My point is that if there is something to be gained spiritually by looking at a word then it is worth a little effort and study.
Years ago I heard an evangelist named Bobby Thompson preaching a message; Are You An Evergreen and I never forgot it. I have thought a lot about it since then. One reason it intrigues me so much is because of the characteristics of an evergreen. By some accounts there are 37 trees mentioned by name in the bible and another place I read put the count at 22. Regardless of the number or type, it is interesting to study them. While I may not have found the exact number, there are several instances where they are named. Psalms 92 talks about the righteous flourishing like a palm tree and also growing like a cedar of Lebanon, standing tall where we are planted. The gopher wood used in the building of the ark by Noah, is believed to be some type of Cypress. Palm branches were used to celebrate Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem. Now for some common characteristics of evergreens;
Evergreens generally have large root systems, whether they run deep or shallow and running far out from the tree, they go toward water. Because of their expansive or deep root systems, they are generally very stable. If Jesus is where we draw our strength from, shouldn’t we also have a stable foundation? An evergreen can withstand the most fierce of storms and remain standing because it has deep roots. Paul told the Ephesians in chapter 3 verse 17 that we should be “rooted and grounded in love.” In 1 Corinthians 3:11 Paul says “For other foundation can no man law than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Back in verse 10 he says, speaking of the foundation, “…let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”
Another characteristic is their durability. Even in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, although some were broken or blown over and uprooted, a good majority of the Magnolia trees were still standing. Some were twisted all kinds of directions but never broke. They too are evergreens. Think about this question for a minute; in all the news footage and video’s, how many palm trees have you ever seen uprooted or destroyed? They occasionally lose a branch or two but the trunk usually remains intact where it is planted. We should be more like a palm tree and grow new branches after we are battered by the storms of life and hurt rather than just quitting on God. That is why he teaches us to forgive.
One thing I really liked when I read about evergreens is that they don’t shed old leaves until they have already added new ones. Also, they just keep growing bigger and add length and height every year. That ought to be a picture of our lives; always growing and getting bigger and stronger in the Lord. They also do not bear their fruit year-round but always have their leaves. I saw Magnolia trees in Mississippi that it would take three people or more with hands joined to even hope to get their arms around the base of the tree. We should be like that as we get older in the Lord. We should become bigger and stronger in him and the power of his might. If we did, we could be that place in the storms of life that lost and saved folk alike could rely on. No matter how beat up or mangled we may get, as long as our root system (or foundation) is in place, we can become that refuge and strength.
One more thing I want to mention is that the sap from some evergreens is good for treating illnesses and is used as a medicine. It can be formulated into cremes and paste for topical needs to bring about healing and prevent infections. My mom used to put a little turpentine on the tip of her finger and then rub it on to the back of our throats to relieve sore throat pain and sinus congestion. That stuff was horrendous but apparently it must have had some healing power because we didn’t get sick to often and that treatment got rid of a sore throat quicker than anything I have tried since then. Boy, if we could just catch on to the fact that Jesus can heal our hurts like the sap from those evergreens, think how much closer we could walk with the Lord.
I hope this has been a help to you and now you can look at your spiritual life and decide whether or not you are an evergreen Christian. We should always be the same but never stop growing. I could never come close to what that preacher preached that night but I thought if I enjoyed it, maybe you would too. The verses I listed at the start are just a few that tell us the kind of character and attributes that we as Christians should have. Lift up your head; if you are rooted and grounded in Jesus, you have all you need to be an evergreen Christian. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!