“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” ~ Warren Buffett
Okay. I don’t mean that you should literally plant a tree today. What I mean is that you should listen to the wisdom in Buffett’s words. He has reminded us that there are things that need to be done not just in the present but also for the future. Sometimes, the things that we do in the present do not look like they bear fruit.
Perhaps they don’t. At least, not immediately. However, we are not here only for the immediate. We are here for the very long haul and we need to remember that what we do has implications not only now but throughout the years.
We “plant a tree” when we are kind to someone who feels as if he or she has no friends. Because of our kindness, that person might go on to gain confidence in self and become a true leader in the future. That person might even cite the moment that we were kind to them as their turning point.
That has happened to me several times in my years as a priest. Someone has come up to me and told me something that I had either said or done that had a major impact on that person. When they reminded me of the situation, I may have remembered it. I may not have. But the emotion in their voice as the story was told made me realize that my deed or words had strong meaning.
We may never know when we plant a tree. However, nothing will get planted in the lives of others if we do not go about our lives as we should, caring for one another, loving one another, and helping one another. The help that we give or the words that we speak to another may appear trivial to us but they may have great meaning to those who receive them.
Too often we think that we need to do big things for others in order to do what God asks of us. It is not big things that are necessary. To me, that is a wondrous part of the mystery of God. He allows us to impact the lives of others significantly merely by a simple word or a loving act. What we do for others doesn’t have to be big enough to make the ten o’clock news. It just has to be genuine, backed by love, and done freely and without hope or expectation of any return.
Be that person who supplies shade to others in the future by touching the life of someone positively today.
FAITH ACTION: Consider joining a volunteer group that reaches out to others who are in need.