Kelly Head — I just love olives. I must because I even named my son Oliver. Funny tidbit, his sisters call him “Olive” half the time. I’ll admit, I didn’t see that one coming. Maybe part of the reason I had olives on the brain back then was that Flourish was being “born” right around the same time he was. The theme verse emerged, “You are like an olive tree, flourishing in the courts of God” (Psalm 52:8). Yep, when I commit, I commit.
Well, not too long ago, all the magnificence and symbolism of the wonderful olive tree returned to mind as I began looking at the verse that resonated for this family issue: “Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in His ways … Your children will be like olive shoots around your table” (Psalm 128:3).
So, it seems I’m not the only one of us with an ‘olive!’ Yep, each of us parents are the proud “owners” of little olive plants! Yay!! So, maybe now y’all will join me in all my olive-loving glory?
So? What in the world is all the hoopla about the olive? It’s just a teeny weeny gem of a fruit that we like to squish down and cook with, right? Au contraire, mon frère. Not true! After all, it doesn’t say the blessed parent’s children are like lemon trees, now does it? I’m guessing it’s specific for a good reason. So, you wanna be blessed, I wanna be blessed — let’s take a look at the olive to see what that looks like.
For starters, sustenance, light, heat, medicine and cosmetics are all derived from this single tree that was pretty much instrumental for survival back in the day. Not to mention that the olive branch is used throughout the Bible as a symbol of abundance, glory, fruitfulness and peace.
So, great, right? The goal is to raise our little “shoots” into trees that resemble these magnificent little morsels of greatness. Well, we all know that shoots don’t bear fruit yet. You with me? Raising children takes some serious time, love and tenderness.
For starters, the preferred way of planting an olive tree is from the trimming of a mature tree. So, it goes to say that it’s basically going to reproduce what it is. Meaning we’d better keep “pruned” since the ‘olive’ doesn’t fall far from the tree, Mama.
Too, did you know that an olive tree typically takes about 20 years before bearing fruit? Their most fruitful season is actually between 30 and 70 years. Hmmm, sound familiar?
You see, the roots of the olive tree go down very, very deep. It’s all happening beneath the surface, though, and takes a very long time to before you see it up top.
So, can you imagine all that work in the beginning until the roots grow deep enough? Think about the planting, fertilizing and pruning year after year. Twenty years of sweaty effort and tree coddling, day-in and day-out so those little roots could finally grow into a long and strong root system that is provision enough for a strong, sturdy tree. Untold seasons of effort are put in until finally that little seedling is big enough to bear some fruit.
The beauty of all that effort, you see, is that farmers know all the toil and labor is worth every single bulging blister. Those tiring days pay off to obtain all that gloriously abundant, succulent, life-sustaining fruit that ultimately comes forth when they do their job right.
Now, I’m the proud tender of three tender “shoots” myself. Phew. I know first-hand how difficult some days can be. I’ll be the first in line to admit that there are just some days I’d rather like to hang up my “pruning shears.” But, the times that are the hardest, ladies, are exactly when we need to consider that sturdy olive tree. One day our little ones will rise up and call us blessed. Their little roots are growing deeper and deeper day-by-day even though we can’t yet “see” it. But someday many will even come from afar to partake in all that juicy fruit those little seedlings will bear. Like the olive tree, the roots go so deep that no storm can shake it. So that even in our own old age, we will have our mature trees surrounding us and our table, like the shade of a great, ancient olive tree, as we rest in their shelter and even enjoy the fruit of it ourselves. Truly, that is legacy.
So, let me break it down. Hard work. Yes. Worth it? You betcha. Not only is the farmer blessed from that olive tree, but so is the entire village for generations to come. So don’t grow weary in well doing. Keep on watering, feeding and nurturing that little seedling you’ve been chosen to cultivate. Before you know it, people will come from miles around to admire and drink of the beauty, fruitfulness and healing that comes forth from your full-grown “olives.”
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