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Three Trees


Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what 
they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked 
up at the stars and said: "I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered 
with gold and filled with precious stones. I'll be the most beautiful 
treasure chest in the world!"

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on 
it's way to the ocean. "I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying 
powerful kings. I'll be the strongest ship in the world!"

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men 
and women worked in a busy town. "I don't want to leave the mountain top 
at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they'll 
raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest 
tree in the world."

Years passed. The rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. 
One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain. The first woodcutter looked 
at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." 
With a swoop of his shining axe, the first tree fell. "Now I shall be made 
into a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!" The first tree 
said. The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree 
is strong. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining axe, the 
second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters!" thought the second 
tree. "I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!" The third tree felt her 
heart sink when the last woodcutter looked herway. She stood straight and 
tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter never even looked 
up. "Any kind of tree will do for me." He muttered. With a swoop of his 
shining axe, the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter's 
shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. 
The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure. She 
was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals. The 
second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no 
mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was 
hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too 
weak to sail to an ocean, or even river; instead she was taken to a little 
lake. The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong 
beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" The once tall tree 
wondered. "All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and 
point to God..."

Many many days and night passed. The three trees nearly forgot their 
dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a 
young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. "I wish I could make 
a cradle for him." her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and 
smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and the sturdy wood. "This 
manger is beautiful." She said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was 
holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing 
boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into 
the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree 
shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers 
safely through with the wind and the rain. The tired man awakened. He 
stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as 
quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying 
the king of heaven and earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beam was yanked 
from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an 
angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to 
her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the 
sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew 
that God's love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. 
And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. 

That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.


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