The 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. It 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

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 her way. 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 feedbox for
The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, with
treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm
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 a 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 feedbox.
 "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 beams
were 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.