Be the Tree!

The incident below occurred years ago when Cleveland’s rep was at an all-time low. More recently, my wife and I spent a wonderful weekend there, strolling the art deco boulevards, eating great meals, and exploring the inimitable Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 


I’d missed my connecting flight and gotten stuck in Cleveland.

Oh, the humanity!

Anyway, the result was an unplanned 4 hour layover. I could have bought a paperback, or sat watching 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, you know this is Cleveland, right?”


The moment I arrived, I spotted a depressed-looking guy in an “Information” booth. I walked over to him and said, “I’ve got four hours to kill. What’s there to do?”

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

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

But then God replied, “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 things like telling Information Guys about Him.

To my surprise, Information Guy seemed 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.”

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!”

He looked at me like I was crazy (I get that a lot). But then something seemed to click. Still, he smiled and 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 me a grin and shouted, “Be the tree, man! Be the tree!”

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

Have I mentioned that that was my favorite layover ever?

I love it when God springs divine appointments on me, even if I do grumble about them.

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, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Be the Tree!

  1. Blog Lady 77 says:

    One of the most edifying posts I’ve seen in a long time. Thank you for sharing that experience with us. I grew up in Ohio (Dayton) and lived nearly all of my married life there (Columbus). Those of us who grew up in Ohio often heard Cleveland referred to in a condescending manner as ‘the mistake by the Lake’. Personally, I have no frame of reference. I’ve never gotten all the way into Cleveland proper that I remember. The closest I think that I came was attending a church service in Lorain. It was a beautiful drive along the shoreline.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have lived in the Cleveland area for 26 years – by choice. This is an awesome town! One can drive one mike and be in a different world!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. revruss1220 says:

    I love this! I thank you (and I’m sure that guy thanks you, too) for responding to God’s nudge.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great story, amen! God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lesley says:

    That’s amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, what a wonderful story!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kevin Sam says:

    I love what happened and how God orchestrated this opportunity, and you took advantage of it. Bless you brother!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. K.L. Hale says:

    I love this! How inspiring! That conversation you had with God reminds me of some of the ones I have. Gulp, OK God! 😊😂❣️ I’ll remember, “Be the tree!”🌲 for many reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. AECRM says:

    I love it when adventures happen because of a God Nudge. This is a great story & a wonderful bit of encouragement to accept the nudge!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great story! And a great reminder 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Be the tree! I love this!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That was beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You are in Tune. I may have had the experiences that you have just described, yet I am not sure that there was any product of effort. I do believe that it is great when it happens. Thank you, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ann Coleman says:

    You have an open and kind heart, Mitch. Which is a very good thing for those around you.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Another great story and another great illustration. I may borrow this for a sermon someday, in the meantime I shared it on my Facebook page.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What an inspiring story for a trepid evangelist wanna be like me. Thank you. Stay safe and healthy Mitch

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Jennie says:

    Wow! Now that’s a great story.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. gracespeaker says:

    If there was a ‘love’ button, I would have clicked that! I love hearing about the God moments of our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

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