Long ago there was a monk who needed olive oil, so he planted a small olive tree. After he planted it, he prayed, “Lord, please send gentle showers. My tree needs water so its tender roots will drink and grow.” And the Lord sent gentle showers.

The monk prayed again. “Lord, my tree needs the sun.” And the sun broke through the rain clouds.

The anxious monk knew that moderate freezing has a positive impact on olive oil quality, so he prayed again. “Lord, send the frost to improve the flavor of the olives.”

That night the little tree was covered in frost and by the next morning – it was dead. The monk was distraught and shared his unhappy experience with a fellow monk. After hearing the story, the other monk shared his thoughts on the matter.

“I also planted a little tree,” he said. “It is growing strong and tall.” But I entrust my tree to God. I pray, “Lord, you created my tree, and you know what it needs to produce a fine crop of olives. Please grow it according to Your will and purpose.”

Friends, whether we are grieving a loss, battling illness, or just trudging through the challenges of the day, God is faithful. We pray prayers of worship, of thanks and of contrition, and like the second monk we can entrust our petitions to God. The Lord of all Creation will take care of the details. Each day God writes the next page in the story of our life. Let’s stop trying to pull the pen out of His hand.

Luke 12:22-32 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to your span of life?  26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

The story of the monk adapted from Streams in the Desert by LB Cowman, pg. 133.

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