Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Tale of Three Trees

"The Tale of Three Trees" retold by Angela Elwell Hunt
"Once upon a mountaintop, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. 

The first little tree looked up at the stars twinkling like diamonds above him. 'I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I will be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!'
The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean. 'I want to be a strong sailing ship, I want to travel mighty waters and carry powerful kings. I will be the streets ship in the world!'
The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and busy women worked in a busy town. 'I don't want to leave this mountaintop at all, I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me they will raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.'

Years passed. The rains came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. 

One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain. 

The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, 'This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me.' With a swoop of his shining axe, the first tree fell. 
The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, 'this tree is strong. It is perfect for me.' With a swoop of his shining axe, the second tree fell. 
The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter never even looked up. 'Any kind of tree will do for me,' he muttered. With a swoop of his shining axe, the third tree fell. 

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought him to a carpenters shop, but he busy carpenter was not thinking about treasure chests. Instead his work-worn hands fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once-beautiful tree was not covered in gold or filled with treasure. He was coated in sawdust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals. 

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took him to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ships were being made that day. Instead the once-strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. Too small and too weak to sail an ocean or even a river, he was taken out to a little lake. Every day he brought in loads of dead, smelly fish. 

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. 'What happened?' the once-tall tree wondered. 'All I ever wanted to do was stay on the mountaintop and point to God.'

 Many, many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. 'I wish I could mak a cradle for him,' her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. 'This manger is beautiful,' she said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world. 

One evening a tired traveler and his friend crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. He knew he did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and rain. The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, 'Peace.' The storm stopped as quickly a it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the King of heaven and earth. 

One Friday morning, he third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry, jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. 

But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything. 
It made the first tree beautiful. 
It made the second tree strong. 
And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. "

I love this story. It tells me that the path and the goals that we establish for ourselves don't always work out the way that we want them to but God sees the full picture. He sees that we must experience opposition and heartache and despair in order to fully taste of the joy that comes when our righteous desires are fulfilled. I love this gospel! I have one month left of being a full time missionary and I will cherish it. The greatest gift to me is the gospel. 

Ka**en was baptized this past Saturday and confirmed yesterday. After church we got a text from Ka**en's mom telling us that she was ready to learn more about the church and to get baptized! The spirit is so good. 

Love you all! Have a great week. Remember: God loves you, Satan hates you. 

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