Living in the Midwest where we are suffering a bit of a drought, my husband recently told me about the husband of a woman he works with who has been watering his trees. Because of watering his trees, they have a water bill somewhat larger than normal. Now where we live most people aren’t big into watering. We don’t have sprinkler systems, or even those old fashioned sprinklers that sway back and forth—the kind I remember running through as a kid. We just let our grass fade away and die. I think, in part, because we aren’t too into paying big water bills.
But this man has chosen to water anyway. He’s chosen not to take the risk of losing something of value to him. His theory is that he’s going to pay one way or another, sooner or later. Either he can pay now by watering, or he will pay later when he has diseased or dead trees that need to be removed. Because then he will pay again to purchase new ones, pay to have them replanted and wait for them to grow and mature. He realizes that he will spend even more in cooling fees as he waits for his trees to grow large enough to provide shade for his home. He’s done the math and has come to realize that it is wiser to pay the price now for what he wants in the end.
I think there’s a lot more wisdom here than just whether or not to water your trees. Think about how often we just let things slide because we are hoping for a turnaround or we don’t want to pay the cost. I certainly understand that there are times when things are bad, really bad, and your choice is losing a tree or feeding your kids, so you lose a tree. But there are so many times when things aren’t that desperate, and we fail to stop to count the cost on the things that are of greatest value to us: things like our marriages, our children, our character, our witness, our prayer lives or the study of the Word. The cost seems too high, and so we wait it out, thinking that sooner or later the rain will come again, and things will be better without us having to pay a dime.
Sadly, those times often don’t come, and rather than losing some trees, we lose our marriages, relationships with God and people, or our children and the chance to help them come to salvation. It seems to me that we can learn a lot from the man who waters his trees. It was when my husband told me about “the tree waterer” that I noticed for the first time that one of our trees, in July mind you, was losing its leaves—not a good sign at all. No kidding! It looked like October in our front yard. Yet somehow I just walked right by not really caring that my tree was dying before my very eyes because I didn’t want to pay an extra $10 a month for water. Now every day I go out and water that tree—just enough that the leaves are no longer falling, and they are green again rather than brown.
But it wasn’t just the tree. I have to confess that after my husband told me about the tree waterer, I stopped to take a look and noticed that I was suffering some drought damage as well. You see, I had gotten so busy that my prayer life was a bit droopy, my relationships were suffering a bit and I wasn’t growing like I had been just a few months earlier. So I counted the cost and asked myself what I really wanted in the end, and I got to watering, deciding it was time to cut out a few good things to make time for the best things, paying the price now rather than paying the price later, and of course, growth has returned.
How about you? Are you suffering a little summer drought? Are there any trees in your yard or in your life that need some watering?