Friday, March 19, 2010

The Treehouse

"Daddy, daddy," cried the young boy. "I've finished building my treehouse!"

There was the crinkle of a newspaper being put down as the father looked up from his morning paper and coffee.

"Well done son!"

Of course, it wasn't really that much of the boy's own work. The father had bought the wooden planks, the rope and the nails. He'd taught his son to hammer the nails to put the planks together but ended up doing more than half of the work. Whole weekends had passed as the father taught the boy to saw the planks to the correct size, make appropriate measurements, and how to set everything up on to the tree in the backyard.

What the boy really meant was that he had, with the help of his mother, hoisted up a few stools into the treehouse and rolled out a mat. But of course the father was not one to bother. His son's first treehouse. He was quite content to leave it at that.

"Come and see dad! Come and see!"

Oh, he'd seen enough of the treehouse, alright. But the father dutifully complied. Folding up his paper and gulping down the last mouthful of coffee, he strode out to where the tree stood. The sun rays shone through the leaves to play on the faces of the exuberant boy and his father. A slight gust of wind rustled the leaves as the shadows danced on their joyous countenance.

"Well, my dear boy. You must be mighty proud of your work! Now tell me, what do you plan to do with your treehouse?"

"Thanks dad! I couldn't have done it without you," the boy replied, gathering together enough modesty as was possible for a child his age. "But I'm sure glad to have put this treehouse together all by myself!"

The father grinned. But his child wasn't looking at him. The boy was transfixed with the treehouse.

"Since I've got such a nice treehouse. Why not I put more stuff in it?" The boy enthused.

"I want to put in curtains tomorrow morning."

"After that, instead of a rope, I want to have a nice wooden staircase leading into the treehouse"

"Then, I'll need more wood, dad. I want the treehouse to have at least one more room."

"I'll decorate that room too. I think it could use a nice sofa. I want to bring up a TV into that room."

The father turned to look at the boy.

"Well, you'd need some electricity for that wouldn't you? How'd you do that?"

"Dad, we could connect a wire all the way from home into the treehouse!" The boy declared.

"After that, I'll have my video games brought up to, so I can play or watch TV, whatever I feel like doing."

"Then, I want a fridge too. I want food inside to treat my friends."

"I want a balcony for my treehouse, just like we have at home. Only, it'll be bigger and better. I'll need more wood for that too, dad."

"And oh, a birdhouse. A birdhouse in the tree. I want to build a birdhouse!"
The father cleared his voice. His son paused to look expectantly at his dad.

"Do you think that the tree could bear all that weight? If we put so much more into the treehouse, everything's gonna collapse."

It pained the father to see the disappointment written all over his child's face. And yet, what else? Could he have agreed to his son's requests if he loved his son? No. He'd have wasted time and money doing all the renovations. And worst of all, the entire treehouse would collapse. And then his son would be even more disappointed.

So often in life, work and ministry, we want more, more, more. We rush to build up our own treehouses to be bigger and better. But there are things to consider.

1) We really didn't build the treehouse in the first place. It was God. So why are we trying to use our own very limited skills to improve on what God has done for us?

2) The tree can't hold all that weight. Our lives will collapse if we put too much into it.

3) If we're so concerned about putting more into the treehouse, we'll never enjoy the treehouse itself.

4) If we're so concerned with the treehouse, we forget to spend time with the Father.

So I've been thinking for myself. Have I overstepped men's boundaries? And more importantly so much as to completely overshadow the former, have I overstepped God's boundaries?

I gaze upon my own treehouse. The warning signs are here. Perhaps I need to relook my blueprints.


Jane said...

Good insights. If we think that our tree-house is built by us, we will want to own it and get disappointed when things don't go as planned. But when we realize that God is the real builder, and we are all His work of redemption, we will let God carry the burden, and not feel so hard on ourselves.

tyong said...


pink said...