Be the Tree!


Some years back, I missed a connecting flight and got stuck in Cleveland.

Oh, the humanity!

Yeah, I know, the city has spruced up a lot, but back then…

Anyway, the result was an unplanned four hour layover.  I could have bought a paperback. Or just sat and watched the slo-mo ballet of jets on the tarmac. But for some reason, when I prayed about it, I sensed God telling me to take the shuttle into the city.

“Are You sure, God?” I asked, “I mean, this is Cleveland.” 

When I arrived, I almost immediately spotted a depressed looking guy in an “Information” 800px-TERMINAL_TOWER,_OVERLOOKING_THE_PUBLIC_SQUARE,_DOMINATES_THE_CLEVELAND_SKYLINE_-_NARA_-_550198booth. So I walked over and said, “I’ve got four hours to kill. What is there to do?”

“Nothing,” he replied, “this is Cleveland.” (I’m not making this up.)

I told you, God! I said in my head.

But then God said, “Tell him about Me.”


So I told him about God, the omnipotent, omniscient—and decidedly pushy—Creator of the universe who I do, in fact, love with all my heart and, however grumpily, get all my best ideas from—including telling Information Guys about Him.

To my surprise, Information Guy seemed genuinely impressed, and even a little jealous. But then he said, “I’m not ready, man. First I have to get my life together. Then I’ll give it to God.”apples2

He was eating an apple, so I pointed at it and said, “You don’t become a tree by producing apples. You produce apples because you’re a tree. First you have to be the tree. Let God make you a tree!”

At first he looked at me like I was crazy (I get that a lot). But then something seemed to click. He smiled, but said nothing more.

So I went off and bought a paperback.

When it was time to return to the airport, I headed for the shuttle, passing Information Guy on the way. Before I could say anything, he flashed a magnificent grin at me and shouted, “Hey! Be the tree, man! Be the tree!”

Then he put his palms together, indicating that he’d been praying, and pointed upward.

1392905541000-Cleveland-night-skylineDid I mention that that was my favorite layover ever?

I love it when God springs divine appointments on me.

Especially when they’re in Cleveland.

“You did not choose Me, I chose you, and equipped you to bear good fruit!”  ~John 15:16

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Be the Tree!

  1. lynettedavis says:

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. emmagc75 says:

    Thank u. It’s a really good memory!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Semra Polat says:

    Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.


    • mitchteemley says:

      It deeply disturbs me to read these words, Semra. Jesus came “to seek and save” (Luke 19:10), not to kill. Jews are not our enemies, we are. The only thing that needs killing is our own selfish natures (Luke 9:23-24), the very pride that leads us to label anyone other than ourselves (whether Jews or Muslim) the “enemy”!

      Liked by 6 people

    • Heather says:

      Hi Semra. I am not a Jew, but find your comment to be interesting in light of the prophetic words of Isaiah. The passage which comes to mind concerns both God’s judgment of the disobedient Jewish people whom He made into a nation.

      Isaiah 47:6-7 and 11 is directed to the “Daughter of Babylon” and reads thus:

      6 I was wroth with My people, I profaned Mine inheritance, and gave them into thy hand: thou didst show them no mercy; upon the aged hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.
      7 And thou saidst, I shall be mistress for ever; so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end thereof.
      11 Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know the dawning thereof: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it away: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou knowest not.

      This is a very strong condemnation against those who would molest people who God has chosen to love. I do not blindly believe that Jewish people are “always right” and believe that they need to accept the truth about the promised Christ, just like the rest of us. But, I would plead with you to exercise caution with regard to any prophecy that promotes the concept of violence against the Jewish people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Heather says:

        The final line of the first paragraph was meant to read:
        The passage which comes to mind concerns both God’s judgment of the disobedient Jewish people whom He made into a nation and the judgment of the nation He selected to carry out the disciplinary action

        My apologies for the typo.


      • Semra Polat says:

        Peace be upon you !!

        Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve…(Holy Qur’an 2:62)

        And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their religion. Say, “Indeed, the guidance of Allah is the [only] guidance.” If you were to follow their desires after what has come to you of knowledge, you would have against Allah no protector or helper….(Holy Qur’an 2:120)

        They say, “Be Jews or Christians [so] you will be guided.” Say, “Rather, [we follow] the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth, and he was not of the polytheists.”…(Holy Qur’an 2:135)

        Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah ]. And he was not of the polytheists.(Holy Qur’an 3:67)

        Among the Jews are those who distort words from their [proper] usages and say, “We hear and disobey” and “Hear but be not heard” and “Ra’ina,” twisting their tongues and defaming the religion. And if they had said [instead], “We hear and obey” and “Wait for us [to understand],” it would have been better for them and more suitable. But Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not, except for a few…(Holy Qur’an 4:46)

        For wrongdoing on the part of the Jews, We made unlawful for them [certain] good foods which had been lawful to them, and for their averting from the way of Allah many [people],And [for] their taking of usury while they had been forbidden from it, and their consuming of the people’s wealth unjustly. And we have prepared for the disbelievers among them a painful punishment…(Holy Qur’an 4:160/161)

        But the Jews and the Christians say, “We are the children of Allah and His beloved.” Say, “Then why does He punish you for your sins?” Rather, you are human beings from among those He has created. He forgives whom He wills, and He punishes whom He wills. And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them, and to Him is the [final] destination…(Holy Qur’an 5:18)

        O Messenger, let them not grieve you who hasten into disbelief of those who say, “We believe” with their mouths, but their hearts believe not, and from among the Jews. [They are] avid listeners to falsehood, listening to another people who have not come to you. They distort words beyond their [proper] usages, saying “If you are given this, take it; but if you are not given it, then beware.” But he for whom Allah intends fitnah – never will you possess [power to do] for him a thing against Allah . Those are the ones for whom Allah does not intend to purify their hearts. For them in this world is disgrace, and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment…(Holy Qur’an 5:41)

        Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light. The prophets who submitted [to Allah ] judged by it for the Jews, as did the rabbis and scholars by that with which they were entrusted of the Scripture of Allah , and they were witnesses thereto. So do not fear the people but fear Me, and do not exchange My verses for a small price. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are the disbelievers.(Holy Qur’an 5:44)

        O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.(Holy Qur’an 5:51)

        You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate others with Allah ; and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, “We are Christians.” That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant.(Holy Qur’an 5:82)

        The Jews say, “Ezra is the son of Allah “; and the Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allah .” That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?..(Holy Qur’an 9:30)


      • Heather says:

        Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah ]. And he was not of the polytheists.(Holy Qur’an 3:67)

        This is an intriguing statement, Semra. Are you aware that the Greek word Christos means “anointed”? And the Hebrew word mâshach also translates into English as “anointed”.

        The Genesis account provides the first scriptural reference to the anointed One whom God would send to lift the curse which Adam had brought into the world.
        Genesis 3:15: And I will put enmity between thee (meaning the serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

        Abraham believed the Creator’s promise to supply a means of salvation through his family line. Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6)

        There are numerous references to anointing (Kings, priests, sacrifices, etc) throughout the Jewish scriptures and in the Law itself. The Gospel accounts testify that Jesus of Nazareth is being the fulfillment of this promise.

        The sin of many Jews of Jesus’ day was a refusal to recognize Him as the One whom God promised through their own holy writings. The primary sin of unbelievers to day is exactly the same.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “Oh the humanity” delightful.0) This is a wonderful post, Mitch. Thank you for sharing your divine appointment! Keep being the tree!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. gw says:

    Reblogged this on Ad-Infinite-item and commented:
    Because of a missed appointment, a soul was found. We all have appointments with God!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Good Story ! You teach the Bible like Jesus 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nancy Ruegg says:

    I’m visualizing the ripple effect of your encounter, Mitch, as Information Guy went home and told his wife about the crazy traveler who told him to “be the tree.” Then this Information-Guy-Tree actually started producing apples. She noticed, his kids noticed, co-workers and neighbors noticed. Pretty soon there was an orchard in that part of Cleveland! Thank you, Mitch, for an inspiring story that reminds us: Divine appointments can happen anytime, anywhere–even in Cleveland. We have to be ready–like you were!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Wow. Inspiring! 🙂
    “You don’t become a tree by producing apples. You produce apples because you’re a tree. First you have to be the tree. Let God make you a tree!”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lucie says:

    Lovely post…. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. theancients says:

    I’m blessed by your obedience. Reminds me of Smith Wigglesworth who would be told by the Holy Spirit to go to certain locations where there was always someone who needed to hear the Word.
    God gives us His ability so we can give Him our availability. Just imagine if no one made themselves available.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. kauaiartist says:

    Thank you so much for liking my outrageous poem Princess Tiny Meat. I have been trying to get that off my chest and into poetry for years and today was the day. Please come back again. There are over 322 poems on this blog just waiting for a discerning eye like yours.

    Brent Kincaid, WordMusic

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Love your relaxed and easy writing style – I’ve much to learn. Great inspiring post. Thanks so much!!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. M says:

    Excellent Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Good word… I posted it on Facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. mitchteemley says:

    Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:

    On location filming today. Meanwhile, here’s a favorite post you may not have read. Have a spectacular week!


  16. Very encouraging and inspiring post Mitch…Thank you for reposting! Your writing style is so enjoyable, always keeping my interest and bringing a smile to my face. I appreciate your honesty, humor and, most of all, your heart and love for the Lord. I truly see Jesus in you!! God bless you ‘on location’ today!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Shli Like Me says:

    Mitch, you’ve done it again! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Roos Ruse says:

    Wow. I wanna be a tree too. Love this story only from the mind of Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Paula says:

    I wish I had a nickel for every time I said, “Are you sure, God?”
    Man, that’s a big “Duh,” isn’t it? I mean, He’s God, for crying out loud. As always, a great story and something I believe many of us can relate to. I’ve learned to make my To Do list each day but always realize God will add to and subtract from it as He pleases.
    “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” God bless you for being obedient–even when it doesn’t make sense.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. knabbler says:

    I’ve always had an affinity for trees, without ever knowing why. Not that I questioned it, it just… was. I do so now want to be the tree. Thanks for explaining this to me, although you couldn’t have possibly known.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Pingback: Another Thief on the Cross | Mitch Teemley

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