On June 25, 2017, National Public Radio reported the uprooting, moving, and transplanting of a Giant Sequoia tree in Boise, Idaho. St. Luke’s Health System in Boise (the city’s largest hospital) needed to expand its buildings and the Sequoia was in the way.
So the tree had to go. But cutting the tree down was never a consideration, so St Luke’s paid $300,000 for, Environmental Design, Inc. to prune the tree’s roots, tunnel underneath it, lift the 800,000 pound/100-foot-tall tree, and move it 1,200 feet away to a city park. The actual move took about than 10 hours, but its TLC period will last five years and require endless hours of careful nurturing.
But, why all this fuss for a tree? The earth is home to more than three trillion trees and more than 15 billion are cut down every year. Why such heroic efforts for something so plentiful?
Well, this tree has some has historic value. John Muir, the famed naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club, donated this and three others in 1912 when they were mere seedlings – and this is the only one which has survived. So, this Sequoia was a gift from a very famous person.
Plus, think of the investment the community has made in this tree! For more than 100 years Boise has nurtured, fertilized, and watered this tree and has probably guarded it against vandalism, fire, and accidents.
But most importantly, this tree has tremendous potential – already standing 100 feet tall at 100 years old and 6.5 feet across at its base. It has the potential to live over 2,000 years. Its trunk can grow to over 300 feet tall and bulge 40 feet wide at its base. If given the chance, just think of what this mere “toddler” of a tree can become. Yes, Boise’s big Sequoia meets all the criteria to be valued as a municipal treasure. It’s worth every penny spent and every effort donated to its survival.
But every single human being meets that same criteria – in far greater measure. Each of us has significant historical value. For each of us was conceived in the mind of the Almighty, far back in eternity – long before creation. And from that moment all the way to this present day, God’s thoughts of us have been unceasing and as numberless as the grains of sand in every desert and on every shore (Psalm 139:13-18; Jeremiah 1:5). Doesn’t that count for something?
Was Boise’s Sequoia a gift from a very famous person? Absolutely, and it’s right that we preserve it. But trees outnumber people by a factor of 400 to one. And while trees have millions of advocates, people are vilified from every side. People are the targeted for demolition by terrorists, Green Party extremists, and racists of every color. People are abused, marketed, trafficked, and made the butt of jokes. And never in human history have people been in such pain.
Yet every one of these people is a gift from the most important person of the universe – our Heavenly Father who fashioned each of us in His own image. And His investment in us is infinite. God has purchased us with the blood of His own Son and continues throughout our lives to meet our needs, satisfy our longings, and draw us with His love. Doesn’t this indicate something of the worth He places upon us and the future He might have for us?
And just think of our potential! Think of what we might become if we are only allowed to be born, redeemed, nurtured, mentored, loved, trained, and glorified in heaven!
It distresses me when I think of the obliteration of so much of earth’s natural beauty. But it should distress us far more to consider the way we wound and maul each other and treat each other as less than refuse. In all my life I have never heard such hateful and hurtful things said about other human beings as I hear today over the media. Nor have I seen such hatred and
violence perpetrated upon people by their fellow human beings. We humans meet the criteria for better treatment. We deserve to be honored and respected by each other – not made the object of each other’s humor and hatred. What we do to each other reflects our truest feelings about our Creator. We cannot love God whom we have not seen and hate our fellow human beings whom we have (1 John 4:20).
O dear Father in heaven, forgive my hatred and bigotry. Please take it all from my heart and fill me with Your love and peace. Make me a channel of Your love and a blessing to others. Amen.
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