Jeremiah 32 – Dennis Swanberg
WATCH THE SERMON
Planting shade trees that you may never sit under, but others will: that phrase has been around a long time. We don’t know who to credit that line, but it’s a true statement. There are people in your life who have planted shade trees for you that have been a blessing.
In many cases, they didn’t know it would bless you. They did many things on behalf of doing unto the Lord, not knowing where all the blessings and the shade were going to be.
You are reading this today, connected to a powerful church family because someone planted a shade tree before you.
My great-grandpa, Aaron Johnson, came from Sweden and settled east of Austin in a little community called New Sweden.
My mama’s grandpa got there in the 1880s, and he worked hard and got some land. He went to Louisiana near a vast salt mine. He picked and shoveled the salt, a dangerous job at the time. People died all the time, but the money was good.
When the time was right, he took a boat to go back to Sweden. He found his fiancé and told her that he had some land and that he wanted her to marry him and come back to the life he built her. She looked at him and said, “I’m not going.” She changed her mind. Can you imagine?
But… she had a sister. A few seconds after she said no, her sister said, “I will go.” And that became my great-grandma. It was a simpler time.
The fiancé had all the hope in her family. But she never married and didn’t really do much after. My great-grandmother was looked down upon, never expected to amount to anything. But it was her that leaped.
They got to Texas, married, and built their home, which my grandpa was born in. My mama was born in it. And the house is still there.
Quite a story, isn’t it?
When my great grandfather turned 43 years old, he got sick. They don’t know what it was. We have letters that we’ve translated from Swedish into English. It just said he felt ill but didn’t know what it was. He died not long after and left my great-grandmother a widow.
Right before he died, he planted some shade trees around that house. East of Austin at that time was just prairie. My great-grandpa planted shade trees that he never sat under. But my grandpa sat under me and my mama too. I’ve sat under there, my two boys, and soon my grandchildren.
There Have Been People Who Have Planted Shade Trees in Your Life
I don’t know if you’ve realized how many shade trees your grandparents have planted for you or your parents or church family.
Because they love you, people have planted shade trees for a long time.
We don’t even know about many people who have planted shade trees, and we won’t know till we get to heaven. We don’t know who they are, but they are pivotal people in your life.
When I walked to your church and looked at your facility, when I first drove up, I went, hey, this is nice. I guarantee you some people planted shade trees for this church that gave for this church, prayed for this church, that never got to step one foot in this auditorium because they died and went to be with Jesus before it was finished years ago.
Your shade trees are just as crucial as those shade trees that have been planted for you, and now it’s time for us to plant shade trees for those coming after us.
In Jeremiah chapter 32, we get a sense of the shade tree. Jeremiah, a faithful prophet of 40 years, preached, but no one listened. He preached for decades of repent and doom, and no one changed. Can you imagine the faith and dedication he needed to do this without results?
God is the one who grows. Some plant, some water. God gives the increase. But anyhow, it was a tough time because the Babylonians were taking over.
They’d been in a pandemic of sorts. Can you imagine all these years? Jeremiah is warning, and then all of a sudden, now it’s happening. The Babylonians are coming up. The siege ramps. They’re taking over Jerusalem.
It looks like a bombed-out Afghanistan. I mean, it’s over. And Jeremiah is in the king’s palace, sort of like a prisoner to the king; the Babylonians are coming in. They’re taking over. It’s the end. The Babylonians will take God’s people and bring them to Babylon. They’ll be in Babylon for 70 years until finally the Persians come and defeat the Babylonians.
No one listened to Jeremiah before they were taken.
Your Shade Tree
What trees do you need to plant today? There are seeds that you may never see come to fruition. But God wants to use you.
How do you plant your shade trees? There are a few things you need to adopt:
Are you sensitive? Are you talking to the Lord? He speaks to your heart and soul. Listen to what He has to tell you through the Spirit. Read His Word; He is already speaking to you through it.
Shade trees cost money. Like Jeremiah, we have to put our resources where our mouth is. We need to put faith in what God can do, even if we don’t see it in front of us. Jeremiah died before he would see God work through his life. But it changed a generation forever. You need to invest your time too. This community needs you. You’ve got to spend yourself to reach them.
Can you see it? Houses and fields and vineyards were again planted in the land. Can you see it? Can you see it happening? Do you have a dream for your loved ones? Has God revealed a future to you? Be open to what God has planned, and then go all in.
If you’re going to plant a shade tree, do you know your signature on the deed like the one Jeremiah signed? It’s your character and your integrity to say, God, whatever you ask me to do, I’m going to do it as best I can with my heart and my soul.
I am going to plant the shade trees you want me to. I might not see it, but many people will be impacted for eternity.