Roger Barbee: Thomas and the lesson of the pine trees
When the weather reporter announced a wind advisory, he also warned that trees might topple because roots cannot hold well in the sodden soil caused by recent rains. Since we have 42 pine trees in our front yard, we listened to the report with interest.
Going out this morning for my ride, I noticed some small, fallen debris, but all our magnificent pines rose into the morning light sliding over Lake Norman.
Riding into the morning, I remembered being told when we moved here not to thin the trees, because they supported each other. Riding on, I thought of Disciple Thomas.
Not present when Jesus appeared in the Upper Room, Thomas wanted to see and touch Jesus’ wounds from the cross. For this, he has been cast as “Doubting Thomas.” We are not told where Thomas was and what he was doing when Jesus appears to the disciples, but yet we give him an unfair moniker.
To me, Thomas is a disciple who sees his Master killed on the cross. A human and a follower of Jesus, he suffers from this loss and goes to some unknown place to be alone and deal with his sorrow — in pain, following his Master’s example to be alone and pray.
Remember that this is the disciple in John 11:16 who says when Jesus announces that he is going to Judaea (where He risks death from the Jews) to raise Lazarus, “Let us also go, that we may die with him [Jesus].”
What Thomas did after the crucifixion mirrors some of our actions today — he sought loneliness not fellowship, and on his return to the others, he expressed honesty by his doubt. It is as if he said, “I will not believe until I am sure.”
Thomas’ mistake was not seeking fellowship and healing with the other disciples, the Christians that he belonged with.
Like the 42 pine trees in our front yard which support each other, Christians need each other for support and strength.
Perhaps most importantly we need the energy from each other so that we might fulfill the Great Commission and honestly follow Matthew 5-7.
In Proverbs 27:7 it is written that “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
Like the pine trees, we need to support each other. Through our unity we will be stronger to do His work.
Roger Barbee lives in Mooresville. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org