Every generation and every culture understands this truth…

One generation plants the trees, and another

gets the shade. –Chinese Proverb

Stan and I have walked the road in this photograph many, many times since his family purchased the land in 1974. Our four sons ran up and down this road and now our thirteen grandchildren find the refreshment here. On hot summer days, the shade provided by these trees gives us a few moments of coolness, and we savor the refreshing breeze and the reprieve from intense sunshine. Someone generations before us planted these trees and we are reaping the benefit.

In the same way, our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents planted trees of spiritual commitment, strong family values, and moral standards. We have been blessed by them and find security in the shade they provided.

Both Alistair Begg and John MacArthur have quoted a wise father’s thoughts–a man reflecting on what he would do differently if he could raise his children again. He would have provided even more shade.

“My family’s all grown and the kids are all gone. But if I had to do it all over again, this is what I would do:

  • I would love my wife more in front of my children.
  • I would laugh with my children more–at our mistakes and our joys.
  • I would listen more, even to the littlest child.
  • I would be more honest about my own weaknesses, never pretending perfection.
  • I would pray differently for my family; instead of focusing on them, I’d focus on me.
  • I would do more things together with my children.
  • I would encourage them more and bestow more praise.
  • I would pay more attention to little things, like deeds and words of thoughtfulness.
  • And then, finally if I had to do it all over again, I would share God more intimately with my family; every ordinary thing that happened in every ordinary day, I would use to direct them to God.”

Of the Lord, Isaiah writes:

“For you have been a… shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.”  –Isaiah 25:4