My wife pointed out an interesting article in last Sunday’s Evansville Courier & Press. It was in the Life section. I don’t usually read the Life section. I can’t remember a time I’ve ever read the Life section. If it were possible to subscribe just to the Sports section, and maybe the weather page, and once in a while the opinion page, I’d do it.
Anyway there was a piece on the arrival of autumn, and its beautiful display of fall colors. The interesting thing is something that I learned in this article that I probably should have learned way back in 4th grade, but didn’t. Do you know why leaves change colors?
There’s this stuff called chlorophyll. Webster’s defines it as “the green photosynthetic coloring matter of plants…” (Those dots represent other stuff in the definition that I didn’t understand.) Apparently it’s also a “waxy green chlorophyll-containing substance extracted from green plants and used as a coloring agent or deodorant.” Maybe next time I’m out of Old Spice I’ll grab the nearest green plant and rub it under my arms.
Seriously, I must have been absent the day they covered Chapter 1 in 4th grade science, or maybe I was busy daydreaming about becoming a quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. I wanted to be the next Roger Staubach. Still do. Either way, I missed chlorophyll. My 4th grade son, of course, has already learned about it in Chapter 1.
According to the article, the reason the leaves change colors is because their chlorophyll breaks down. The reason the chlorophyll breaks down is because there’s a shortage in food production for the tree. The reason there’s a food shortage is because there’s a decrease in sunlight, which happens when the days get shorter and the nights get longer and cooler.
The breakdown of the leaves’ chlorophyll reveals the colors of brown, yellow and orange which, get this, are already there but are covered by the green chlorophyll in spring and summer! These colors that make for such beautiful fall scenery are always present even through the summer, but are covered over by the green chlorophyll. Mrs. Bush would be so proud that I’m finally getting somewhere.
Now let me take a swing at using this as an illustration (there are a couple of ways to go here – you could probably do better). As long as we stay in the “Son” light, we’re covered like chlorophyll by His life-giving mercy and grace. Our sins are covered by the blood He shed for us upon the cross of Calvary. Our eternal future in heaven is covered by His victory over sin and death and hell. We’re covered by the righteousness of Christ Jesus and the new life He gives to us through faith.
See, unlike the picturesque colors present beneath the chlorophyll of the leaves, there is no beautiful display in us other than Christ Himself. All of our best efforts at righteousness are but filthy rags in the sight of God. Contrary to popular opinion, there’s nothing beautiful in the heart of sinful man that will ever impress a holy God.
Apart from the complete covering of Christ, you and I would be helplessly lost, with no promise of an imperishable, undefiled and unfading inheritance laid up for us in heaven. There would be no sweet anticipation of the glory that is to be given us when Christ Jesus is revealed. There would be no talk of mansion-building in the Father’s house as we await the return of our Savior.
The leaves are beautiful to behold – for short while. But what ends up happening to a leaf when it fails to get the sunlight it needs? It soon falls off the tree and dies. Hmmm. I’ve seen too many “leaves” break down and turn away because they weren’t getting the “Son” light they needed.
We need to stay in the “Son” light! We need to keep feeding daily on the life-giving mercy and grace of our Lord and King by hearing and obeying His Word, by communing with Him in prayer, by uniting in fellowship with His church, by ministering in love to others, and by singing His praises and proclaiming His salvation with a grateful, humble heart day after day.
Fellow leaf, are you covered in the chlorophyll of Jesus Christ?