THis weekend I had the privilege of attending an Arbor Day commemoration sponsored by the Kansas City Parks department. The department honored a current and former employee, each of whom had served the department for more than 40 years.
I was attending in memory of the former employee and his wife. Many of their family and friends were in attendance. Co-workers spoke well of both the Chaneys. The Chaneys were good friends of my mother and servants at her church. He served as a trustee, while she ran the church pantry for many years. Parks and recreation planted a tree in their honor. On the back of the program, there were famous quotes about trees.
One stuck out at me:
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
The proverb speaks to legacy. Our days are few and full of trouble, but our hope is that we will leave something that lasts beyond our time on earth for those who follow behind us. The Bible says a good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children. That inheritance isn’t necessarily monetary. It can be a legacy of integrity, of honesty, and of service. It can be a legacy of love, one of the many things that the Chaneys left behind.
The parks department planted trees for the honorees. The Chaney family chose a tree that blooms in multiple seasons. It was a fitting tribute for people whom no one would describe as fair-weather friends.
There’s another quote that I thought should have been included in the Arbor Day Program. Psalm 1:3:
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
At the end of the program, each attendee was given their own tree to plant. Lord, let the trees that I plant, and the seeds that I sow produce fruit for many years to come.