Back in the days when logging was emerging as a major industry in the West, there arose a legendary figure called Paul Bunyan. He was a giant of a man that did super-human exploits of strength and skill. Whole forests would be felled with one swoop of his mighty ax and many of the natural wonders of the West such as the Grand Canyon and other sites were supposedly created by his exploits.
Well, I want to tell you that Paul Bunyan is still alive and well in my backyard. Just the other week I personally pulled up about thirty trees with my bare hands! I have to tell you it feels great to be associated with such a legend. Of course I need to add that all those “trees” were only about six inches tall and came out of the ground with the greatest of ease.
Although short trees don’t make tall tales they do illustrate the important principle of dealing with trouble early. Just as anyone can pull out a tree by the roots when it is young, it takes a Paul-Bunyan-type effort to uproot trees and branches once they have grown.
God’s “tree service”
Jesus tells us that God has an ongoing spiritual pruning business that “cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit gets pruned so it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:2). In this respect, I don’t think many of us mind a little trim now and then so we can be more fruitful. What worries us is when we see the chain saw come out! Then it’s obvious that major surgery is about to take place.
Ecclesiastes 3:2 says there is “a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.” May the Lord, the true Paul Bunyan of the inner life, help us thin out the trees that block the bright beams of Righteousness from fully shining in our hearts.