Ole' Grumpy Stump©

Written and illustrated by De Dorman 2008 All Rights Reserved

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
Ecclesiastes 12:1 “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth,..”

Ole’ Grumpy Stump, as he is now known, had such a small beginning. Why, he was only a little seedling among many giant oak trees when his Maker sent the warm rays of the sun to help him grow strong and tall. He sprouted out of the ground full of potential and so happy to be a part of God’s creation . It wasn’t long until his branches were pointing up to his Maker, thanking Him for life in this fertile field. The birds were free to come and go, resting in his branches and making nests for their growing families. This worked out well both for the growing tree and for the birds. The birds ate the little bugs that would have damaged the beautiful tree while the tree’s foliage shaded and protected the little birds. Mr. Farmer also was blessed by the presence of this humble tree. Each time he rested under it’s shade when taking a break from plowing the field, he thanked God for the cool breeze and a shady resting place. It was such a good beginning for this humble tree, but then something happened that would change everything.

It was during a cloudy autumn day when a storm brought in so much rain that there was a big puddle of water at the base of the tree. The tree caught a glimpse of the beauty of his foliage from the reflection in the puddle. As he admired the warm parade of colors, an old fox stopped by for a drink. This sly animal was known in the area for having an appetite for birds and he had his eye on some nests above.

“If I could only get the birds out of that tree.” thought the wicked fox. “Then I could have the chicks for lunch! And if the birds would rest on the fence posts or on the ground, I could easily catch them, too!” And so his scheme began.

As the tree gazed into the water, the fox began weaving his web of deceit. “Certainly a beautiful tree such as yourself wouldn’t allow dirty, noisy birds to nest here! Why, look at the beautiful colors in each of your full leaves! Have you ever seen such shades of gold and red?” This comment took the tree’s thoughts away from his glorious Creator and onto himself.

“This, indeed, is true! These screeching birds are the messiest ones around!“ agreed the tree. “I must take charge before I am ruined by their filth!”

“Oh, you are much too special to be bothered with dirty birds! Shoo them out of your beautiful branches and the rain will wash their mess away.” With those words playing on the mind of the now arrogant tree, the fox walked over to the barn, waiting for some easy prey.

The colors of his leaves in the reflection were so beautiful, and after a brief moment of thought, the foolish tree did take charge, without the help of his Maker.

In the grumpiest voice the tree could muster, he announced to the birds, “You have been much too noisy and you are messing up my beautiful leaves, now get out of here immediately!” He justified his cold, radical decision by saying to himself, “After all, I know what is best.” With the help of the wind, he shook and he swayed until all the birds frantically flew to other trees, thanking their Maker that their babes were big enough to fly.

The wicked fox watched from the barn, waiting to see where the birds would nest. But when he saw that they were out of harm’s way, he set his sights on other prey in a nearby tree, hoping to cause the same problems, simply to satisfy himself.

The foolish tree continued to enjoy his reflection. It wasn’t long, however, until the puddle dried up and the leaves began falling to the ground. Even worse, something terrible was happening inside this once humble tree. He couldn’t understand what was going on. Holes started appearing in his bark and dead branches began falling all around his trunk. He grumbled to himself, saying how the birds, somehow, must have caused this problem. Mr. Farmer came out to take a look and, sure enough, it was what he had suspected. Since there were no longer any birds to eat the insects, termites were eating the inside of the tree! The tree lost his beauty as well as his fullness that he once enjoyed. Mr. Farmer sprayed and cut the dead branches, hoping to salvage some of the tree. Alas, the day came when the tree had to be cut completely down, leaving nothing but a stump. The birds watched with sadness as the branches from the tree were taken to the barn to be used as firewood during the winter months.

The scheming fox did get a bird here and there but never had he caused as much damage as when he got the beautiful tree to lose sight of his purpose and his Creator.

Mr. Farmer still works the field where the stump resides and since there is no shade to enjoy, he simply plows around it, remembering what it once was.

Because he was lifted up with pride, Ole Grumpy Stump is no longer able to stand tall and point to his Maker, but a small sprout has poked through the soil close by. Maybe this little tree will remember his Creator and do what he is made to do, help those around him and humbly point to his Maker.

Invitation
Romans6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
1Corinthians 6:20 “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”
Revelations 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Questions for discussion:

What was the tree's purpose?
Who wanted the tree to forget this purpose?
Who wants us to forget why we were created?
Who could no longer be used because of his pride?
Who decides if pride will enter our heart?
James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
(we each have to say "NO" to temptation.) (the once useful tree)(the devil)(the fox)(Point to God and help those around him):

The Lord, your Creator, has wonderful plans for your life. The first thing He wants from you is your heart. Have you confessed your sinfulness to Him and accepted the payment that His Son Jesus Christ made when He died on the cross for your sin? He will forgive you and cleanse your heart from all sin if you ask Him. This is the only way to be right with God. The Lord, then, wants to fulfill His purpose in your life. You, too, can help those around you and point them to their Creator.The move was difficult but the birds are once again singing. They can be heard in the trees that are scattered across the distant field. There was a time when they joyfully sang in Mr. Farmer's field where a beautiful tree grew that they called home; that is, until this tree was lifted up with pride and forgot his Maker. Let’s listen and learn from this grumpy stump.

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