When Is The Best Time To Plant A Tree?

Originally published Tuesday, 08 October 2013.

It's fall.  I love the persistent breeze and gentler sun of fall.  And I think of trees.  I think of the beautiful foliage that has just started to turn.  There are hills and mountains out east, so in a few weeks, they will present breathtaking views.  The kind of views that make you want to drive somewhere, sniff the air, and pick some apples.  With their sticky juice on your fingers and the crinkle of leaves beneath your feet, you know you've entered a special season.

A friend of mine sent me a post the other week about the best time to plant a tree.  Its author was at a tree nursery and had a conversation with the owner.  She wondered if fall is the best time to plant a tree. Yet while there, she recounts an old Chinese proverb:  The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.  The second best time is today.  In other words, the answer to her question wasn't dependent upon the seasons at all.

There was something spiritually nagging at me after I read this short encounter.  The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.  The second best time is today.  We know that trees serve a vital role in our ecosystem, so of course they need to be respected and plentiful.  But the Chinese proverb hints at something more.  Trees also signify strength in their stature, a persistent life force in their growth, and quiet wisdom in their enduring presence.

Is there a place in your life where you need to plant trees?

  • The best time to kick a bad habit was twenty years ago, but the second best time is today.  There is strength waiting for you from your Heavenly Father, who is reaching out his hand and saying - today is the day.
  • The best time to end an abusive or damaging relationship was twenty years ago, but the second best time to seek help is today.  The God of heaven cares about every hair on your head, and you where made for something greater.
  • The best time to cast your fears aside and invite the Word to inform your daily decisions was twenty years ago, for it's invitation is ongoing, but the second best time is today.  Not only does Jesus want to be your best friend, but he has tremendous plans for your life - and he wants to accomplish those plans together.

As usual, I write for me as much as for you today.  We all have things that we would like to change.  God knows this about us.  That's why there is an invitation linked to that Chinese proverb through the lens of our Savior.  God is in the business of planting.  But God doesn't just plant and leave us alone; scripture says that we can only thrive if we stay connected to him (John 15:5).

God can give us new and abundant life, and he wants to take us higher.  Allow him to sow seeds in a new direction in your life, even if the pattern is ingrained and the history is long.  Allow his love to enable you to dream again.  Christ claims that if we simply have faith the size of a mustard seed, which is the smallest of seeds, then he can move mountains (Matt 17:20).  I can think of no better time to claim that blessing with confidence than today.

Does this post resonate with you?  Please share this post with any friends whom you know could use some uplift today!

{Photo by Tony Hall at Flickr}