Beautiful Trace

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If you cut the trunk of a tree and look at the cross section of the tree, you can see a pattern of concentric tree rings. Tree rings form when there are differences in growth speed as the weather changes. Between spring and summer, when cell division is vigorous, the wood texture inside the tree is soft and the color is bright, while cell division is slow starting from late summer or autumn, resulting in a hardened texture and a darker color. As such process repeats, a distinct pattern of tree rings is formed in the trunk of a tree.

If you look at tree rings, you can tell not only the tree’s age but also what had happened during its lifetime. Needleleaf trees grown in regions with distinct seasonal changes have clear tree rings, but broadleaf trees grown in regions with little seasonal changes and a mild climate have relatively indistinct rings. Even the same type of trees may have different shapes of tree rings depending on the environment they have lived in. Disasters such as drought, pests, and wildfires, the type of forest, and the slope of the ground are directly reflected in tree rings. By measuring tree-ring isotopes, the annual history of temperature and humidity has been reconstructed back up to ten thousand years. This is why tree rings are called a black box that plainly shows the process of plant growth, and nature’s hard disk that vividly stores data of climate change.

“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” Rev 22:12

In the Bible, expressions such as “according to your deeds,” “according to what he has done,” and “as you sow” appear many times. It means that every trace of our gospel life is recorded before God just like tree rings. What kind of traces will you leave on the growth rings of your soul? Not only your efforts to keep God’s commandments holy and preach the gospel, but also your heart and deeds to treat your brothers and sisters are engraved in the growth rings of your soul (Mt 25:31–46). These days, love is more necessary than ever. Let us look after our brothers and sisters with a humble attitude and love that we have when we serve God. Such beautiful deeds will be recorded in the spiritual growth rings.