The solution was River Birch trees. When they were first planted, one on the left side and five on the right (where the brunt of the summer sun shone), they were barely head tall. Now, some ten years later, they have grown well above the roof ridge of our home in height.
Let me say that, in every respect, they have done what we requested. They have grown into full and beautiful trees that are pleasing to the eye. And along the way, that have provided significant shade as well.
The problem, however, is that they now shed leaves by the tens of thousands each year. And as tall as the e now grown, their leaves quickly make their way into the valleys of the roof and down into the gutters.
When this happens, we have learned that wisdom dictates that we quickly get busy and clean out the gutter. If not, they will not work as they are designed. For if they are clogged with leaves and, especially if their downspouts are stopped up, then the flow of rain water is impeded and the gutters quickly fill to capacity, forcing a backup and an inevitable overflow.
The immediate solution is to clean out the gutters. But in truth, the ultimate solution is to trim the trees, as this is the cause of the problem. We have done the former. But the time has come to do the latter as well. If not, the problem will not go away. It will likely only get worse.
I share this as a way of illustrating what can happen to our lives if we are not careful. In our desire to achieve some goal, to accomplish some mission, etc…, even if it is a good thing, we sometimes set ourselves up for unforeseen difficulty.
Often the pursuit of a given relationship a chosen career, a beloved pastime, , a desired possession, etc… while not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, can still turnout to be something that winds up costing more than it provides. This is especially true if that pursuit comes at the expense of our relationship with God.
Be careful not to let some person, place, thing, activity, or preoccupation impede the work of God’s Spirit in your life. The consequences of limiting God’s ability to work in your life can prove to be anything from slightly frustrating at the least and quite costly at the most.
As the writer of the New Testament Book of Hebrews reminds us (chapter 12, verses 1-3),
Therefore … let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Notice the words, “anything that hinders or entangles”. The word “hinders”, in the original Koine (or common) Greek language in which the New Testament was first written, is the word “ongkos”. It means “a weight, a mass, or a heavy object that weighs someone down”, and is the basis of the English word “oncology”, wherein a mass or tumor inside the human body is treated.
The word “entangles” is the word “euperístatos” and it means “a serious hindrance that encircles (or hampers) someone who desperately needs to advance. It comes from the root word “hístēmi”, which means someone or something which takes a stand. Of course, in English, this is the word from which we get, “histamine”, which is what clogs up a person’s nasal passages, requiring an “anti-histemine” to provide relief.
Thus, each of us should ask ourselves, “What is it in my life that in any way hinders my walk with God?” If you do not know the answer to that question, then ask God to reveal it to you. And whenever He does, and whatever that is, clean it out and get rid of it. For only then can you expect your life to flow as God intended. Only then will you and I know the peace and joy that living for God can truly bring. Jesus lived His life just this way. And so should we.