Not long ago, just down a ways from our church building, a property was cleared of nearly every tree. This flat one acre or so of real estate was cleared and excavated for a new house. After removing 30-40 trees, there was one tree left in this new field. It appeared it was left to be a showcase piece. Standing at over 60 feet tall, this tree would stand tall and proud in this recent development against the backdrop of a new house.
Then it happened. A storm came. The rain fell. The wind blew.
The now single tree, standing proud by itself in the cleared field, fell down. Great was the fall of it! The tree had grown up in a community with other trees. As it grew from a sapling to a tall height of 60 feet, it was not alone. The fibers of its core were not stretched and bent as much as it had been during the wind storm that night.
As trees grow, the storms that come make them stronger. The wood grain is stretched as the tree bends in the wind. The fibers harden under stress a storm brings about. In the woods with other trees, the other trees share the burden, slow the wind-down, and create a buffer from the ravages of standing alone in the storm.
Life is much like a storm to a tree. A tree can stand alone, and many trees do. But the tree is most likely to grow healthy and not fall over when in community with other trees. A tree is less likely to fall over when it is with other trees.
The God Who created the trees and forests is the same God who created humankind. He designed our humanity to need spiritual, social, and physical interaction. We find the community we need in something called The Church. Christians need to be with their church to grow, develop in healthy ways, and to help when storms come.
Sure, Christians in church occasionally fall, but no one is taking statistics on how many people do not fall because they are faithfully involved in a church community. I have not seen reports about people who did not fall into sin, or who did not abandon their Christianity – because of the church. But the fact that a church remains is evidence that it works. The Bible teaches in Hebrews 10:25, Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Christian, we desperately need each other as this world grows increasingly sinful. The storms of life may be increasing, but God is greater! He has given you and I a healthy network of friends, fellow Christians with which to worship God, serve Him, and encourage others.
Your church desperately needs you. Someone at church needs your friendship. Someone at church needs to see your smile each Sunday and enjoy an embrace, handshake, or word of blessing.
Will some people in church fall? Will some storms come that they will mishandle? Sure. That is what Solomon is talking about in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
More people will succeed if you are there to encourage them in the first place. Others will get back up after falling when they receive your help to stand back up with the other Christians in a church community.
Don’t stand alone. Stand with other Christians. Storms will come. Others need you. You need them. Go to church. Participate. Avoid falling. If you fall, get back up with the church of others. If you see someone fall, help them get back up.
Don’t be a singular tree in a field. Stand tall with your church.