“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Are You Ever-Green?, by Randall D. Kittle
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When I was a kid growing up in Rockford, Illinois, at least once a year my family went on a vacation to the same scenic, sought-after vacation spot … Nebraska! While this might not sound quite as exotic as Hawaii, as interesting as Washington D.C., nor as thrilling as England, I still remember fondly the times I spent visiting my relatives in western Nebraska — especially my Grandparent’s who lived on the farm. The climate where their little farm was located was not the fertile, flat soil found in the eastern part of the state. It was situated in the more arid region that marks the beginning of the foothills of the Rockies.

Although there were many things I enjoyed about our trips to Nebraska (like going fishing, learning to shoot a gun, and jumping off the windmill into the haystack), one thing I never quite got used to was the lack of trees. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in the “Forest City” or maybe it is just because I have always loved trees, but whatever the reason it seemed strange to only see trees when you came upon a city, a farmhouse, or along the banks of a river.

Rivers are few and far between in western Nebraska. Still, I remember a number of occasions when after seeing miles and miles of cornfields, followed by brown pastureland, suddenly a virtual forest — green and alive — appeared on the horizon. When I asked my dad why the trees just seemed to come out of nowhere, the reason was always the same … there was a river coming up. In the arid foothills of western Nebraska, every river brought life and growth wherever it flowed! While those rivers might not seem like very large rivers to us, their effects were remarkable — everywhere they flowed they brought life. The brown sod turned green … prairie grasses gave way to bushes and shrubs … and trees shot up to the sky changing a virtual desert into an oasis of life.


Be Like A River, Not A Larch
As believers, our lives are to be like those rivers in Nebraska. You and I are living in a society that could easily be considered a spiritual desert. Our culture has not only a famine of the Word of the Lord, but a drought of those who are living the kingdom of God. Jesus told us that for the one who has truly given his life to the Lord “… out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). Is this true in your life? Everywhere you go do you bring life — building and encouraging others, bringing hope, declaring the goodness and faithfulness of God? That’s what our lives should be displaying if they have really been enlivened by Christ.

In the park near my house is an interesting and uncommon tree that gives us a stark warning. It is a larch. All summer it appears the same as any other evergreen tree, but in the winter it looses all its needles and appears to be dead. This “evergreen” tree is only green when the weather is nice. As soon as the adverse winds of winter strike, it drops its needles and changes from evergreen to looking dead and lifeless.

How about you and me, are we ever-green because the river of God is within us or just because the winds are favorable. Do we allow the ever-changing climate of our society to extract from us the new life we have been given, or are we enlivening others even in the arid land in which we dwell?

Let us open wide the doors of our hearts so that the river of God can not only flow into our lives, but out of our lives to others. Let us not be those who are changed by the world around us, but those whose lives bring life and fruitfulness wherever we go. Jesus
promised us a river of life springing forth. Let us allow it to flow, making our lives ever-green and bringing life to everyone touched by the flow of our lives.

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