In our yard we have two sweet gum trees. They are very large trees that provide us with lots of shade in the summer. In the fall the leaves turn beautiful shades of yellow, red and purple. They produce a “fruit” that we call gum balls. Not the gum balls you get out of a machine,(although my girls would love that), they are hard, spiky little ball shapes that start out green and when they ripen, turn brown and tiny black seeds fall out. You cannot mulch them, burn them, or even use a leaf blower. You would not want to walk in our yard bare foot until they are raked and bagged. When the kids were younger, we offered them a penny for every gum ball they pick up and have gone broke on several occasions. To me the gum balls are not very important. They don’t provide me food, just hours of raking and bagging. God had a purpose when he created the Sweet Gum tree though. Those little balls provide food for birds, chipmunks and squirrels. Every single one of them is important to the animals. Every single one of them has a purpose.
Every single one of us is important to God. We were created in His image, no one else’s (Genesis 1:26-27). Matthew 10:29-31 reminds us that even the hairs of our head are numbered and we are more valuable than the sparrows. We are so important to Him that we are told in Luke 15 about a shepherd who lost one sheep. He searched until he found it and carried it home on his shoulders. It was just one, but it was important. We are so important to God that He sent His son to die for us (John 3:16). How many people do you know today that would die for you?
Every single one of us has a purpose. Everything that God created has a purpose (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). Sometimes as ladies we feel that we don’t really have much of a purpose because we see the men doing all of the work. While our work might not be seen by all, it is just as important. As ladies, we can teach the younger kids and other ladies (Titus 2:4). We can prepare the communion, fix meals for the sick, offer to cut out visual aids for a teacher, or invite someone over to your home for popcorn and a visit. We can send cards, make phone calls or even write notes of encouragement for our preacher, our elders, our deacons, our husbands, our children, our grandchildren, our fellow brothers and sisters, and our friends. At the very least, we can pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and even that is a great thing to do! Every one of us has a different talent or ability. Let’s use them to the glory of God (Matthew 5:16)
Our trees have an enormous amount of gum balls and they fall off by the hundreds. I can rake them myself, but it goes much faster with help. One of us can do all of the work and it will get done, but how many more people can we help, how more enjoyable, and how much faster could we spread God’s love if we all worked together?
By Kristina Odom
Kristina and her husband, Justin, serve with the church of Christ in Fairfield, IL where her husband is the preacher. Kristina is a stay-at-home mother to their three kids.