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What takes years to grow…

img_0979My heart is saddened every time a tree is cut down. It always reminds me of the fact that what takes years to grow can be felled in seconds.

A number of years ago, here in South Africa, our landlord planted five Canadian birch trees that have graced our backyard since moving to Pretoria. Unfortunately, disease has riddled the trees to the point, that last week, we had to have them cut down and their dead roots removed. Watching the process reminded me of a segment I wrote in the new Commissioning a Lifestyle of Integrity manual entitled “Restoration of Dignity and Integrity”. Enjoy and consider the thought provoking read.

“A few years ago, at our home in Canada, there was a beautiful maple tree growing at the side of our house. The one who originally planted the seedling in close proximity to the foundation, forgot that seedlings eventually grow into tall trees. What started out as a small, seemingly insignificant seedling had, forty years later, grown into a beautiful tree over twelve meters tall. In the midst of its beauty, the roots beneath the soil had spread their tentacles toward the foundation, eventually causing cracks. The tree was not the problem; the roots were causing damage in the foundation. In order to save the foundation, we had to not only cut the tree down, but also remove its roots. What had taken over forty years to grow was felled to the ground in minutes. There’s a great leadership lesson for you.img_0982
Without a solid foundation of integrity, cracks will develop in our leadership influence. When we plant our leadership seedling too close to things like sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, and wild parties, we risk cracking our leadership foundation and negatively impacting our dignity and integrity. As long as you have roots, you have the presence of life. Sadly, when the roots are removed, the tree can never grow again. The same is true for leaders. I challenge you today to keep your leadership roots alive by replanting them in the soil of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – the virtues of dignity and integrity.”

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:8).img_0985

Until next time…

Don

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