The Long Term

By Roy Stetler
September 3, 2023

More trees will be turning colors this week as they respond to the heat and dryness. There is no decision for the trees. They just know. Chlorophyl gives leaves their green color and allows trees to use the energy of the Sun. But chlorophyl contains minerals that a tree cannot replace each year, so as the tree prepares to lose its leaves, it pulls those minerals into its core to save for next year. The leaves then reveal the colors that were there all along but were being masked by the green. Then they drop to the ground and the tree waits for the next season. Trees exchange short term gains for long term gains. Trees are patient. All of creation reflects the patience of the Creator.

We tend to be less patient. If we are not mindful, we choose short term gains over long term.

In Matthew 16, Jesus speaks of his coming suffering and death. Simon reacts harshly. Jesus counter rebukes him with the name Satan/Adversary. The long-term action of sacrificial love and justice is much more important than short-term loss of suffering, death, and grief. Jesus refuses to be silenced and sacrifices himself to reveal God’s love and justice for all. Jesus will choose the long-term experience of unity with God over his short-term experience of pleasure, and comfort. Jesus knows that life shared in God has much more value than living 25 or 50 more years. By teaching, healing, suffering, and dying, Jesus gives his wealth to the poor.

The call of Jesus is an invitation to sacrifice short-term gains for long-term gains.

Labor Day weekend we recall the efforts of labor organizers who long before us sacrificed with great effort to push wealthy, big business owners to share more of their resources with their workers. The struggle goes on today.

In what long-term benefits have you invested or do you sense a renewed call for investment? By simplifying, feeding, clothing, planting, weeding, protecting, listening, and praying, we share in the long-term gains and joy of the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. Peace.