The Pine Tree and the Easter Message


Devotional by Tim Albritton

Prepared for the Easter Sunrise Service

Mulder Memorial United Methodist Church

Wetumpka, Alabama


April 20, 2003


Matthew 28: 1-10

Key Verse: Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.' This is my message for you."

        Matthew 28:7

          Good Morning. I have come to tell you that we all have a message to “Go and Tell” others the Good News of the Resurrection!


            An Easter sunrise service is usually not attended by great multitudes of lost and unsaved of the world; therefore, I have prepared a message of instruction and encouragement for what I believe to be a small group of faithful followers.


            As many of you know most of my messages are not very conventional. As you recall, they usually have a tree connection. Today’s message has a tree connection which  hope you will find interesting.


            During the Easter season, the tree that receives the most attention is the Flowering Dogwood, and for good reason. The Dogwood has a beautiful flower that is usually in full bloom during the Easter season. According to a Christian legend, the Dogwood was once a large, majestic tree similar to an oak. Because the Dogwood was tall and mighty it was cut down and used to make the cross on which Jesus was crucified.


            Because of the Dogwood's sadness at being used for such a cruel purpose, Jesus took pity on the tree and promised it would never be put to such use again. He said, “You will become slender and sway with the breeze. Instead of acorns you will bear white flowers in the shape of a cross, with dark red bloodstains at the side of each petal to show the world how you have suffered.”   


            You can choose for yourself whether to believe this legend. I can testify to the Dogwood’s weak and slender branches. As young boys, my brother Mark and I climbed into the upper branches of my mother’s prized Dogwood. We had great fun swaying back and forth. Our fun ended when the Dogwood, unable to handle the weight of two young boys, snapped in the middle. Mark and I came crashing down to the ground. Our mother was not pleased to have her Dogwood destroyed.


            Today I would like to offer you another tree that we can remember on Easter. The Easter message is like the pine tree.

            Pines are wind pollinated. This means the pine tree produces pollen cones on the lower branches and relies on the wind to carry the pollen grains to the seed cones in adjacent trees. These unfertilized seed cones cannot produce new life without the wind blown pollen landing in just the right spot. After pollination, the new life begins to develop and at the right time, the cone will open, drop its seeds, and a new pine tree will begin to grow.


            During March and April most of you realize this pollen is carried to many other places as well, such as your car, driveway, windows, sidewalks, your eyes and sensitive noses. This pollen often triggers an allergic reaction by many of us and we just as soon not have it around. I hope, however, that after today's message you will see pollen and remember the Easter message.


            I once heard a very simplistic definition for a parable; it is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Allow me to explain the heavenly meaning I have drawn from this modern day parable.


            The pine tree represents the Lord God. We find this biblical idea in Hosea 14:8:


             "O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? I will answer him and care for him. I am like a green pine tree; your fruitfulness comes from me." 


John 15:5 is another verse that reminds us of this truth: "…He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit…


            The pollen cones represent those persons who are saved. Once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have life, for He is Life.


            The pollen represents the life-saving message that each of us has in us when we make Jesus our Lord. This life-giving message can be shared with others. For what good does it to hold the message inside us?


            The unfertilized cones represent the lost people of the world. The lost can be very near or they can be far away. Our responsibility is to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us as we share the message near and far.


            The wind represents the power of the Holy Spirit. We see this in Acts 2:2:


"Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting."


            The Holy Spirit did not simply fill the preacher; all who were in the house were filled. When we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, each member, everyone, I believe the people in the Redland community will become like the Jews who witnessed this transforming power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They will be "amazed and perplexed.”

Lessons from the Pines:


            When I first learned about wind pollination at Auburn University,  I thought this was an inefficient method of pollination. The method leaves too much to chance and relies on the wind, of all things. But the more I have learned about the God that created this method, the more foolish I realize my thinking was.  


            Knowing how God helps the pines handle this difficult task of wind pollination may help us deliver the Easter message.


1.      Pines produce a great amount of pollen, so when the wind blows, millions of pollen grains take flight. Likewise the church needs all of its members to spread the message. We cannot rely on our pastor, Craig,  to be the only messenger to deliver the message to the lost. If each pollen cone produced only a single pollen grain, how effective would that be?


2.      The pollen grains have wings on each side to aid in flight. I learned that from microscopic examination.  We too can add wings to the message when we hope in the Lord.


Isaiah 40 NIV

29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.


In the New King James Version, "renew" actually means "to exchange." Those who wait or depend on the Lord will exchange their weakness for God's strength.

3.      The Key part to this whole equation is the wind, without which the pine would not be very fruitful. But what are the chances that the single little pollen grain will take flight and land on the seed cone in just the exact location? Or what are the chances that you will meet with the right person with whom we may share the Easter message? Let me tell you a story about Calvin Dukes.


(Share Testimony)


This equation seems foolish to a man until he comes to realize the truth found in God’s word.


Jeremiah 51

16 "When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar;

     he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.

   He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses."

            When we realize that God controls the wind, the whole equation becomes far less difficult to believe. And our confidence as a witness begins to increase when we realize the Holy Spirit is guiding us all through the day.


4.      The pollen goes to the seed cone. Did you notice in the scripture that the angel told them to go?  He did not instruct them wait there and hope that some folks would come by that need to hear the message. He did not tell them to build a nice church and wait for some folks to move into the community and come to church.


NO.  The messenger takes the message.




          In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 13, verse 18, Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a mustard seed. A man planted the tiny seed in a garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.


          The kingdom of God is planted in the hearts of men. It is living and growing within us for others to see and experience.


          And yes, it is like a green pine tree with its pollen cones waiting for the strength of the wind to carry the new life-giving pollen grain to a waiting seed cone.


          Friends, you and I have a life-giving message within us and someone out there is waiting to receive it.


          The message for you and me on this Easter morning is to "GO and TELL".  Let us go and tell others! +  +  +