How many pinecones do you think a Loblolly Pine produces in one year? Y’all know those pine trees, right? They are the super tall ones you see everywhere in Columbia. It has got to be a ton (perhaps literally). I say this from experience, because there are quite a few of these pines scattered throughout my yard with the accompanying pinecones littered everywhere the eye can see. Even on a regular day, if you were to sit still on my patio for just a few moments, you would jump out of your skin when a pinecone fell from 80+ feet up only to exhibit magnet-like qualities as it tracks our tin roof awning over the back door with seeker missile accuracy. Now add any form of wind and rain. My yard becomes a pinecone stockyard!
So I rake them up…
Only to wake up the next day to see thousands more. (Okay, that’s an exaggeration.)
And so I rake them again…
When we moved into the house that we live in now, I noticed an old man in our neighborhood who was constantly out picking up pinecones from his yard. Every time I passed this man’s house—no matter what time—it seems as if he is out with his white, plastic, kitchen trashcan in one hand picking up pinecones (even to this day!). The more I think about him, the more I wonder, how long has he been doing that? Did he start when he was young? Is this my destiny?
But there is a lesson to be seen within the insanely prolific pinecone-producing Loblolly Pines of Columbia, South Carolina. Pinecones fall. It is a simple fact of life that pinecones fall. Complaining does not prevent the pinecones from falling. Yelling at the trees does not prevent the pinecones from falling. The only preventative measure to take is to cut the trees down, which I do not want to do (though I have seen some of my neighbors do so with particular maniacal glee in their eyes). On the other hand, I could simply rake the pinecones up. The only time this gets out of hand is if I do not mirror the old man down the road—who does it routinely. If I neglect the duties and fall out of routine, my mind wanders to complaint at the difficulty of the task.
Trees, pinecones, and awkwardly setup extended metaphors aside, routines are real. At the base level of our Christian lives, there is a flow of routine. God calls us to worship together on the first day of the week for our benefit. God calls us to himself daily through consumption of his Word and conversation with him (prayer). God calls us to connect with his people—our people (fellowship of the saints). The only time this feels overwhelming is when we fall out of the routine. Strive towards positive routines, and may God bless y’all’s endeavors. Midweek blessing to each of you from a man who will most certainly pick up no less than twenty pinecones this afternoon,