“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
How do we navigate all the relationships in our lives? How can we love people and be loyal to people when we have so little time to share between so many? How can we reach out and love new people yet still give the necessary time and investment to the valued friendships we already have? Only by giving all our relationships to God, and by discerning His purpose in each one. Each of us will be called to have a few trees in our lives, and many flowers. Likewise, each of us will be called to be a tree to a few people and a flower to many others. Let me explain.
A tree is someone who is with you the rest of your life. A tree may not be as beautiful, or as fragrant as a flower, but they are steady through good times and through bad. They are the friend who sticks closer than a brother, the friend who loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17), the friend who is willing to speak the truth even if it hurts (Proverbs 27:6), and the friend who believes in your destiny in God even though they know all your sins and faults. A tree is a blessing from God and should be valued and not taken for granted. As someone said, “you can make new friends, but you can’t make old ones.”
Flowers are temporary. They are beautiful and fragrant and they enrich our lives by the grace they impart even though they aren’t called to be trees. These are people God brings into our lives at just the right time to give us a message, to pray for us, or to pick us up when we’re down. We must thank God for them and not resent their seemingly temporary nature in our lives. All of them will be trees in eternity, but down here they are called to be someone else’s tree. If you think everyone should be a tree to you then you will go through life feeling hurt and betrayed by those God called to be only flowers to you. “Why did they move away?” “Why did they send such a short response to my email?” “Why did they pretend to be my friend when they obviously weren’t?” We can easily judge flowers we wanted to be trees and end up shutting our hearts down in self-protection so we don’t get hurt again.
You and I will be disappointed with some people and be a disappointment to others, but there is One we can always please who is the ultimate Tree – Jesus!