On a day when the spring blossoms scented the air and soft breezes came as from heaven, two saplings were planted on the side of a lovely hill. Being nothing more than twigs, they needed to be nurtured and to be protected from many things.
The man who planted them was very wise. He was diligent and faithful in caring for these baby trees. He had chosen a location on the hill where the sky expanded in glory above them.
The saplings longed to reach the heights of the sky and to be in the freedom of its atmosphere. They longed to be as strong and majestic as the older trees higher up on the hill. They both wanted to be as great as a tree could be.
The man wanted the same for them, so with twine he tied each sapling to a stake, which he had driven into the ground next to them. This would prevent a strong wind from blowing them over and possibly uprooting them.
The first sapling understood its restraint and support and was grateful to have a caring man watch over it. The second sapling wanted no such discipline and struggled to free itself by bending and twisting this way and that as it grew.
The seasons changed—spring to summer to fall to winter. Round and round the seasons went, until years had passed. The young trees had been tenderly watered, pruned, and protected. However, while the first tree allowed the man to direct its growth, the second tree fought all the time against everything the man tried to do for it. It attempted to become great and mighty on its own.
The day at long last came when it was time to remove the stakes and twine. The man examined the trees. The first tree gave great pleasure to the man. It was full of fine, colored leaves and sturdy, thick branches. It waved in the breeze, tall and proud. It gave glory to its kind. It surpassed the height of the older trees and was admired by all that saw it. Birds had deemed it one of the finest trees around, and the many, different nests among the branches testified to that.
The second tree baffled the man. It was in the same soil as the first tree, and it had received the same care, yet it looked sickly. Only half the size of the first tree, its branches were bent and weak. The trunk looked as though it had been pushed over. It lived in the shadow of the first tree, and it sadly had lost its desire to reach the sky.
By obeying Jesus, we can grow to be like the first tree, strong and firm. (See Psalms 1:3; 92:12; Jeremiah 17:8.) However, when we choose our own way, we can become weak and twisted like the second tree. (See Matthew 3:10; 7:19.) Jesus wants to make you mighty. Will you let Him?