Sunday, June 11, 2017
Last night I had a dream. In that dream, I was building a treehouse. I wanted a really cool treehouse, so I was investing a lot of time and money in it. Up I went with loads of wood and tools, every day ready for an improvement. An extension here. An extra rope bridge there. My friends and I would have the best tree house ever!
One day, I happened to look over the side of my treehouse under construction. There on the trunk of the tree I saw an orange “x.” Of course I knew (as it is in dreams) that this meant that this tree was marked for removal by whatever government agency responsible. I did not know the time or day, but that this treehouse would be no more was a certainty.
I of course stopped to think. Not so much to mourn that I would lose my treehouse; for some reason, that did not bother me so much. But rather I questioned how much time I was putting into building it. I knew I wanted to keep working on it—it was fun to build even if it was a temporary thing. But did I want to use all the building materials I had? Did I really want to spend that much time building? Was it that important to have the very best treehouse?
I have been thinking about this dream today. My work is like my treehouse. I invest hours and energy and emotional currency in this treehouse day after day. I want this or that result. I want to finish a certain project. I want to advance, to make money, to help people, whatever. Reasonable goals, good goals. But God says he has marked this world for destruction. Whatever is built here is going with it. Don't know the day or the hour, but it is as certain as can be: all is going.
Jesus said: “open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35). He asked the disciples to see an invisible field, and then go and harvest it with invisible tools. That based solely on his word to them, his promise that this thing was true. Just so, Jesus asks me to build another treehouse. In a tree that I cannot see. Using materials I cannot touch. One that is guaranteed to not be the coolest on the block, because nobody can see it, at least not now. That does require time and energy. Time and energy that is currently going into the visible treehouse. Time in God's word, to get a picture of what it is he wants built. Time worshiping, giving, serving, loving: the steps that he says to take. It is not natural, it is different. It is challenging. It can be frustrating. But God promises there is something to this. Something real, that will last.