So on that beautiful fall day, the evergreens weren't the only ones preaching. Those maples had a word, too. They were giving it all they had that day. Jubilant. Vivacious. Spectacular. Joyous. Unafraid. Those are the words that came to mind. In short, they were "gettin' it!" And what made that so significant was the fact that winter was coming. Didn't they know that soon they would lose those lovely leaves and stand as stark, bare "has-beens" of verdant glory? Didn't they know that this razzle-dazzle was momentary and not long-term? Would they be embarrassed later when people remembered what they used to look like and how impressive they were and how they once blazed with color only to become dull and drab?
That is when they really started to preach to me. Those maples told me in no uncertain terms that you do not compromise your fall glory because it will gone in the winter. The bottom line is that winter is coming, so either you can go out with a bang or have a lack luster fall. Because hiding your glory in the fall isn't going to stop or minimize winter. It will just be a wasted opportunity to showcase what God has put in you. It is faithless to waste today because you fear what tomorrow will bring.
Those maples told me to quit worrying about what people think about leaves: their color, their vibrancy, their duration, or even their lack. Because to be a maple means to endure winter barrenness. Life is seasonal, cyclical. So make the most of each season! Bud in the spring, bloom in the summer, blow up in the fall, and go bare in the winter. Honor the season because winter comes for a reason--rest and regroup. Just because nothing is seen on the outside does not mean that nothing is going on in the inside. That sassy maple told me to come back and check him out during the winter. He didn't mind. Because while I criticized or bewailed his barrenness, he was working on next year's buds!
And then I remembered what my friend, Julia, once told me about responding to a preacher. She said that if you can't say, "Amen!" then just say, "Ouch!"
"OUCH! Bro. Preacher Maple, ouch!"