Do you remember the classic children’s book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein?
In that book there’s a tree that loves a little boy. The boy spends his childhood playing with the tree and as the boy gets older the tree never stops giving. When the boy needs money the tree gives him apples to sell. When the boy needs a house the tree gives the boy its branches. When the boy wants a boat the tree gives up its trunk. Finally, when the boy is old, the tree offers its stump to the boy and the boy sits and rests…“and the tree was happy”.
When I think about that LEVEL of giving, I think about my mom.
Just like the giving tree my mom never stopped giving to me and my siblings. To be honest, she is still giving even though she has ‘retired’ from raising children.
As adults, her apples have been the resources she provided; her branches have been her lessons on raising a family; her trunk/boat has been her wisdom about navigating the world and her stump has been the living room in my parent’s house; a place to sit, eat something sweet and laugh.
My mother’s example is the best example I have of Christ’s servant heart.
It takes a tremendous amount of selflessness to consistently put others first. Philippians 2:3-7 describes Christ’s servant style.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.
This example of selfless giving is what my mom learned from the Lord and it is the pattern I can only hope to emulate.
As we enjoy the holiday season let our Christmas trees remind us to be giving trees for our families. Giving all we can with a joyful hearts and servant hands.