The life in our years
So the science of tree ring dating is called dendochronology. The Greek root for tree plus chronology, i.e. “time science”. As a tree will grow a new layer of bark every year, it therefore causes a new ring to be formed in its trunk. Of course, the one way to find out how old a tree is, is to fell it–to cut it down.
“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:17-20)
Fruit, as spoken of in the above passage, is used by Jesus to refer to results. Fruit nourishes, it’s edible. Obvious as that may sound, when Jesus shows up at a fig tree for breakfast one morning “and found nothing thereon, but leaves only” (Matthew 21:19), He proceeds to curse the tree and it says “presently the fig tree withered away.” That might sound like a harsh judgment and I don’t believe He’d ever level such a strict statement at a human being, but the idea here is that we need to be ready for Him. Psalms opens with (third verse, first chapter) “he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” So don’t worry. Remaining fast by the river of the Holy Spirit and the Word is a surefire way to grow into who God wanted you to be for whatever season you may be in.
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:1-3)
Isaiah’s prophecy pertaining to the Messiah–to Jesus. Jesse was David’s father, by the way.
Paul, in his letter to the early Christians in Rome, talks about how Israel, as emblematized by an olive tree, stands as the original growth out of which God blessed the world through humanity (see chapter 11). Beginning with Abraham and branching out from there, we eventually come to Jesus. But lest anyone reading his letter be tempted to think that they were special–more special than the people God already picked, Paul makes an interesting statement in verse 18. He says “thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.” In other words, consideration must be given for the Jewish people because God makes no mistakes.
I can’t say the word addendum has its etymological root in tree (the Greek word for tree is dendron), but a revisionist definition definitely lends itself to Paul and his explanation. He speaks of any and everyone who believes in what God is doing through Jesus today is “graffed (or grafted) in among them” (verse 17), and now part of what God originally did through Abraham and Jesse and Jesus.
Seasons change. We may produce more or less fruit than we did with the last one. And God is always coming around to check on us. The trick is to remain conscious of our connection to God. It’s because of what Jesus did. There is deep and wide theology behind what God did starting with Abraham. Tomes of detail and thousands of rings tell the story and we’ll all fill the gaps in our knowledge base either here or in Heaven. But the important thing is here and now. Let God flow through you to produce fruit where you are.
They say nobody hears the trees that fall in the forest, but people will hear about the fruit that God causes you to bear for Him.
“I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits.” (Ecclesiastes 2:5)
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” (Colossians 3:17)