Die Tomorrow…Plant a Tree Today?

I read somewhere once that Church reformer Martin Luther was asked what he would do if he knew for certain the world was going to end tomorrow. Without hesitation he replied, “I would plant an apple tree this afternoon.”

I suspect that he answered this way because he knew and believed that what may happen tomorrow does not excuse us from doing what God requires of us today. I like that kind of thinking.  I also think it’s good theology.

This is the kind of thinking that keeps me motivated to keep working out and not giving up.  In a month or so I suspect I won’t be allowed to work out for a month or so.  I want to go into this surgery in top form.  My hope is not in my own strength, but I believe that being in the best reasonable shape possible is going to be nothing but a big positive.

And so, I will continue to do my 900+ situps each week, several hours of cardio, and various weights.  I also plan to continue my summer streak of four straight years of doing at least one double flip off the one meter board at the West Des Moines Water Park.  They’re not pretty but who cares…neither one of my oldest sons (16 and 14) can do it and that makes me feel good.

So thanks Marty for the good advice.  You planted a tree.  Good for you.  I’ll keep working out to get this aging temple in the best shape possible, and together we’ll pass on the message that whatever doom, gloom, or trouble we imagine the future might hold is no excuse not to plant an apple tree or to get thyself to the gym.


(Update April, 2010.  For some reason this posting is one of the most popular ones that people find their way to via word search engines.  When I first posted this in January 2009 I was one month away from an intimidating brain surgery to remove a large AVM.  An AVM is a mass of veins and arteries in the brain that serve no good purpose.  That line from above where I said “In a month or so I suspect I will not be allowed to work out for a month or so” proved to be vastly naive as I remained in Rochester,Minnesota (Mayo Clinic) for 46 days before returning home to Iowa.   Following the initial brain surgery [after which I was immobile on my right side and unable to speak a word] I developed a blood infection, then had emergency open heart surgery two weeks after the initial brain surgery to remove a massive blood clot in my heart {and a couple dozen from my lungs} which they pulled from my heart with a carefully placed incision. I very nearly died.  I coded.  My heart stopped beating.  I stopped breathing.  But here I am alive and well on the eve of Easter 2010.  If you want to read a moving story of God’s great faithfulness then I encourage you to go back and read this blog from the very beginning!)


One thought on “Die Tomorrow…Plant a Tree Today?”

  1. Mike,
    You are awesome! 🙂 I. like many when they first heard of your medical issue, were shocked. Certainly saddened to know an old school friend is going through some trying times. But after finding my way to your blog, and spending the last couple of hours reading the many entries and comments, I have certainly shed some tears… had many laughs and chuckles (love your sense of humor)… and been flooded with memories from school days. Even though many years have passed, I still remember you like it was yesterday.
    While the human emotions are natural, it is comforting to know God has everything in control. No matter the outcome, God has a plan for putting you, and by extension, all of us, through this journey. The modern technology of blogging is an incredible tool God can, AND IS USING, to share your testimony with many many people. Our family experienced this firsthand about 2 years ago when my sister was battling cancer. Her web journal was an amazing blessing to her, our family, friends, and even unknown strangers.
    Trusting God will comfort you and your beautiful family over these next weeks and months. You will continue to be in our constant thoughts and prayers.


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