Old Tree – New Wood

Someone asked Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who was in his late seventies, how he continued to have a good sense of humor, a youthful spirit and vigor.

Pointing to an apple tree in full bloom, he said, “I try to be like that apple tree. It grows a little new wood every year.”

We are not exactly like apple trees. Our outward shell ceases to grow yearly. That doesn’t mean our inward man, the true “us,” should stop growing new wood.

“Wherefore we faint not; but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). The person inside a body that has a few more aches and pains, wrinkles and less hair, dare not faint in life. The future is a lot closer than it was when we came into this world. “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”

The insider in our lives can gain new strength every day so that the outward man is not overcome with the miseries which come more and more frequently as we near the end of this earthly journey. Our weakening bodies are being maintained and upheld with the strength of the inward man. It’s done by growing closer to God every minute of every hour of every day (James 4:8).

Actually, it doesn’t matter how many birthdays we’ve had. Every accountable person to whom God grants few or many days of life must grow inwardly by maintaining a youthful outlook at what lies before us. No matter what obstacles pop up along the way, joy should just overwhelm us.

Think of Jesus about to be crucified. “Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2).

Getting older is not so bad after all. What’s bad is now getting younger inside. - DRS

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