Have you ever received a text that tugs at your heart? You read a few lines. And, stop. You are captured by the weight of what was just said. I received a message from a sweet lady who lives in Missouri, but won’t be able to visit Estes Park this year because of COVID. The paragraph that arrested my attention read, “Will you please do me a favor? Next time you are hiking, will you please pick up 4 or 5 pinecones, and mail them to me? I’ll plant them here at my house.”
This was such a simple yet profoundly beautiful request to me. It touched me deeply. Earlier in the morning, I had been sitting in the dirt pulling weeds. I thought about how many weeds had grown in my heart. I considered the fallowness of my soil. I reflected on what’s growing in the garden of my life in this season. While my hands were busy attacking the weeds at their roots, as my grandma instilled in me, my mind was processing the words of First and Second Peter streaming through my earbuds.
I was reminded of our great purpose.
We are planted for a purpose. We have a promise. We called to produce fruit. We are people, greatly blessed, to be a blessing. We must weather the storms, persevere in drought, continue growing, bear fruit, and keep reaching toward heaven. The minute we make self-preservation, safety, and sameness our highest aspirations, we have lost sight of the mission. Luke 9:24 – “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”
The reason this sweet customer wanted pinecones from Estes Park planted in her yard is because she understands the fundamentals of the mission. Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.”
The idea of mailing healthy pinecones, evidence of a tree well-planted, all the way to Missouri so that new life could spring forth that would serve as a constant reminder of this majestic place brought me such joy. I started asking questions like “when was the last time someone wanted my pinecones?” It sounds silly, but let’s make it real. When was the last time someone was attracted to your joy, your peace, your hope? When was the last time someone said, “Will you plant your seeds of success in my garden?” How long has it been since you spent time with someone that reminded you of your great purpose in being called to bear fruit?
In life, there is zero assurance of safety. The moment life begins, it’s full of risk. The best parents in the world can’t guarantee the safety of their children. The most devoted spouse can’t provide unequivocal protection of their loved one. This is not a license to live recklessly, but an invitation to live in such a way that you leave a legacy long after you are gone. I believe it’s time to start planting again. It’s time to spread your pinecones in your family, to your friends, in your community, and throughout the country. We desperately need trees that ‘yield fruit in season, whose leaves do not wither, and whatever they do prospers.’