But I am like a green olive tree
in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God
forever and ever.
I will thank you forever,
because you have done it.
I will wait for your name, for it is good,
in the presence of the godly.
(Psalm 52:8-9 ESV)

Olive trees live for hundreds of years, and even after the tree on the surface dies, the root system can produce more. They are evidence of the persistence of life in the midst of an arid land.

The Christian is also a testimony to the stubbornness of God’s Spirit, to continually produce life in the midst of a spiritually arid and hostile world. Because God’s love is steadfast, we can be steadfast. God’s stubborn love is not born out of an obstinate spirit, but out of the original Creator’s Spirit. He is stubbornly opposed to the sin of the world, to the lack of loyalty and fidelity to righteousness. He never quits, but constantly moves within our hearts and in this fallen world.

WE need to remind ourselves of this often. Sometimes I get weary dealing with the bickerings of Christians with one another, minor issues that people get upset about, or feel strongly about. They are incidental and passing matters, but we can let these things distract us from God’s purpose and His love. Sadly, I confess, that I have had my share in the bickerings over minor and unimportant matters.

It was in a church building committee meeting in Austin, Texas, in 1992, that I realized afresh what my role as pastor was. As I recall, it was a discussion about carpet – what color and what kind will we get for the new building – and we all had plenty of opinions. As the discussion went round and round, God brought it to my attention that the one thing that everyone shared in common was the need to be reminded of God’s love for them, and their calling as Christians to follow Christ. I opted out of the discussions at that point and simply began to pray for people.

The truth is that as long as the Spirit of God is moving, the color and type of carpet is unimportant.

Matthew Henry wrote, “It is very good for us to wait on that name, that there is nothing better to calm and quiet our spirits when they are ruffled and disturbed.” When people around us get hung up and become divided over minor issues, let us continue to focus on Christ to wait on Him, to lean on His Spirit, and to find comfort in His presence.

Olive trees continue past droughts and dry periods, and so should the people of God.

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