The Pecan Trees: The seeds we plant matter | Faith
by The Press and Standard | July 21, 2019 5:00 am
Last Updated: July 17, 2019 at 10:47 am
My father was born in Soperton, Ga., in the 1920s. Soperton is a small, rural town located in Southeast Georgia. His family left Soperton when he was a teenager, moving to Jacksonville, Fla., where he met and married my mother. My two sisters and I were born in Jacksonville.
As children, when we took family vacations we never slept in hotels or visited theme parks. Instead, we always stayed with extended family whom we likely hadn’t seen since the summer before when we made that same trek from Jacksonville to Soperton.
Often our summer “vacations” were scheduled around Thigpen family reunions. Dozens of cousins would gather at the Soperton town clubhouse. There were long rows of tables filled with everyone’s tastiest pot luck. There was a much food as there was laughter and chatter.
Every summer when we made that trip, or any other time of the year we found ourselves traveling to see relatives near Soperton, my dad had one particular stop he always had to make. It was a grove of pecan trees. It’s been years ago now, but the last time I saw those trees they were probably 75 feet tall and almost as wide as they were tall.
We’d drive by those trees and my dad would tell us how he planted each one as a seedling. We would all marvel at how huge those trees were and how much they must have grown since they were first nestled in the ground graciously and evenly spaced in straight, diagonal rows. My dad was drawn to that grove of trees, as if the limbs waved longingly at him from a distance, signaling him to come closer.
Those trees were probably at least 30 years old or more by the time Dad was taking us to see them. I don’t know what was really going through his mind when he made his pilgrimages to those trees, but I do know he never missed an opportunity to visit them. It’s as if they were part of the family too. They were products of his hard work and effort. It was no longer his charge to care for them, but he still cared about them. Years later, he still wanted to see them flourish.
Seeing those pecan trees fully grown and producing crops was satisfying not only to my father, but to every one of us traveling the road with him. If we made the trip later in the fall, we may have even stopped to pick up a handful of nuts. The memory puts a smile on my face and a longing in my heart.
Trees, seeds, plants, branches, crops, harvests and all kinds of agriculture are frequent topics in the Bible. There are mentions of trees in the Garden of Eden, onions in Egypt, hyssop at the Passover, Zacchaeus’ climb up a sycamore, a withering fig tree, the ark constructed with acacia wood, palms covering the roadway to Jerusalem, and cypress and cedar trees that may have been used in making a cross.
How long does it take for an entire forest (enough to build an ark) of acacia trees to grow to strong enough to be construction worthy? How many years prior would they have been planted? What about Zacchaeus’ sycamore? Or the Jerusalem palms? Or the wood for the cross? Who else but God could make the harvest timing ripe for the task needed?
Beyond Eden, someone on this earth planted the onions, hyssop, palms and other plants and trees used for purposes in the entire biblical narrative. Whoever planted and/or cared for those trees likely had no idea God would use them to tell His story. They may have been like my dad, even if they had moved on after planting, still stopping by to pay a visit when they’re in town, telling his children how dirty he got digging the holes for them, being amazed at what God has done with it since then.
The seeds we plant matter. I need to be better about following my dad’s example by being more deliberate and attentive rather than randomly dropping one or two here or scattering a handful over there. I also need to follow my Heavenly Father’s example. He has a vision for every seed and the patience to see it grow into the very thing He meant it for.
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1-3
(Nancy Davis attends Doctors Creek Baptist Church of Walterboro, where her husband Scott, is the minister of music. Reach her at email@example.com.)