02 January 2017

HOPE: The Word for 2017

“Even a tree has more hope! If it is cut down, it will sprout again and grow new branches.” (Job 14:7) When the rain returns, the stump of the tree will produce new sprouts from an old root. I’m a simple man and live by simple principles. I believe strongly in the seasons and cycles of life. “As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” (Genesis 8:22) We should learn to live in 2017 by the principle of “Something old, something new.”

Something Old

Everyone needs a good root system to live a productive life. Without good roots, we cannot product good fruit. A good root system comes from our covenant relationships. This is what makes family so important. This is what makes a home church so important. They are a part of our root system. Roots are what give us stability in life. We seldom see roots because they’re hidden beneath the ground, but they are there, and we are dependent upon them to produce good fruit.

We need deep roots. If our roots are too shallow, they are easily effected by the weather, and the weather is always changing. The deeper our roots, the greater the stability in our lives. Deep roots protect us against the dry times with no rain and from the storms of life which bring too much wind and rain. Good roots help us move past these difficult times that sooner or later happen to everyone. These roots give us hope for a better tomorrow.

It’s impossible to produce good fruit without good roots, because the fruit depends on the roots to provide the necessary nutrients to grow. Too many people try to live their lives without a good root system. They easily discard relationships like an old worn-out tire on their car. They see no value in past relationships and live by the question, “What have you done for me lately?” What they fail to understand is that our past is what brought us here, and every new thing we learn in life is built upon the knowledge of what we already know. Wisdom wasn’t born yesterday. Wisdom comes from the experiences of life where we learn from our past.

Something New

It’s not enough for us to have a good root system. Roots feed the fruit, but don’t produce it; only the branches produce fruit. The branches in our lives are like the new shoots which sprout each spring. In the seasons of life, there will always be springtime and harvest. The springtime of our lives brings us opportunities for new growth. It’s during these times that we are given the chance to produce a new crop of fruit. Fruit is never old. Fruit always comes from the new opportunities in our lives. It forces us to learn something new and keeps our minds alive as we learn from new experiences.

This is the problem for many people. They have a good root system. They tell story after story about things that happened years ago, but they can’t tell us of any new thing developing in their lives. Like an old story teller, they simply repeat the past and tell us about what used to be. They’re like the man who said, “The older, I get the more I like it like it was.” We must produce new fruit or we will die.

But we don’t have to die before our time; we should determine to live until we die. Don’t be like the man who died at age twenty-five but wasn’t buried until he was sixty-five. He simply kept repeating the past things he had learned year after year without learning anything new.

I have discovered that the older I get, the more difficult it is to learn new things, and the harder it is to stay alive. Churches are like that; businesses are like that; nations are like that! We must intentionally be looking for new opportunities. Without new purpose, new vision, and hope, we will die.

But remember, the new fruit is dependent on the old roots to support it. We need the wisdom of an older generation to help guide our new decisions. Before we start taking down fences, we should learn why they built them in the first place. There just might be a big mean bull on the other side of that fence. The older generation must respect a younger generation and give them opportunity to explore new ideas, but the younger generation must honor their elders and realize everything they have in life came because of an older generation. Young people must learn that all the smart boys weren’t born yesterday, and the elders need to be reminded they have made their share of mistakes.

May God help us to live us live by the principle of “Something old, something new.” We need new fruit in 2017 from new branches fed by an old root.