God’s Righteous Tree (Advent 2017)


They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. – Isaiah 61:3b


Guest post by Peggy Winford

[Peggy, and her husband Rick, recently became “second career” missionaries, moving to serve in Europe after 34 years of working in the high tech industry. They are serving in Germany with Greater Europe Mission (GEM).]

Picture a stand of mighty oaks, providing abundant shade from the Texas heat and shelter for any number of creatures. Yet, that grove didn’t just appear. Perhaps an over-eager squirrel hid away all of those acorns in the fall, only to forget where he stored them once winter came. However it happened, once planted, those oaks were there to stay.

The last few months we have felt like that acorn that was carried away by a giant squirrel far, far from our home tree. That can happen when you move halfway around the world from the place where you have lived for over 30 years. The cultural and language differences that were no big deal during brief business trips and vacations suddenly feel a bit overwhelming when there is no going home in a few days.

And, the whole time we wonder when we will really begin to “serve the Lord.” With four hours of intensive language school a day, plus homework, grocery shopping, laundry, trying to figure out how to make a phone call or pay a bill there is little to no time for ministry. We think to ourselves, once language school is over, then we’ll be able to really be about the Lord’s work.

And, yet we are ALREADY trees of righteousness, planted by the Lord to display His splendor. When we stop to admire the socks our German neighbor is knitting; or meet once a week to encourage a group of missionary teens in their walk with the Lord; when we ask about the deteriorating health of a friend’s mother or listen to another German share about her recent radiation treatment we are being about the Lord’s work.

Just last week we had dinner with two young couples from our language class…one young man and his girlfriend from Bosnia and another young married couple from Pakistan. Neither couple has plans to move back to their homeland…ever. Perhaps our connection with them is a result of their need for family.

Actually, we hope that these relationships will last much longer than a six-month language class. We realize that if we had only been focused on getting through language class in order to “serve God,” we would have missed this chance to show His love and connect with those around us already.

Don’t miss the opportunities to love others, no matter where you are. You are the Lord’s tree, and He calls you righteous, able to display His splendor as He works in and through you to love the world.


For Reflection:
  1. Give thanks for where the Lord has planted you right now. Ask Him to reveal to you His plans for this time and place.
  2. How can you display His splendor to ALL those around you in this Christmas season?
  3. Who around you especially needs to see His love through you?