Coconut Trees

Where there is no counsel, plans fail; But in a multitude of counselors they are established. (Proverbs 15:22 WEB)

After moving into a new home on Guam I made a survey of the yard and realized that the coconut trees were a problem. If you consider a ten pound coconut falling thirty feet onto a five year old head, as a parent, you begin to shiver thinking about the consequences.

The coconut trees had to go. They posed a serious health threat to our growing family. Holding our six month old James in my arms I counted two looming disasters towering over our concrete bunker we called home. It was time for action.

We engineers like to plan things, use the appropriate instruments and consider all the ramifications of a project. I gathered my fellow male colleagues one sunny Saturday afternoon to tackle the problem. This was a man’s job. Women were only there as spectators and to bandage wounds in case of disaster.

I looked over the situation, considered the options and then I had it all figured out. Mark brought the chain saw, Ray brought some ladders, Rich, George and a couple others handed out hard hats and provided the muscle.

The first tree was partially cut midway up the trunk. A rope was attached. With our flexing muscles impressing the girls we heaved and heaved until the top toppled to the ground. Cutting down the rest of the trunk was simple. We surveyed our successful work, turned and considered the taller of the two trees.

Climbing a ladder, tied to the tree at the twenty foot level, Mark pulled the chain saw to life and worked around the hearty trunk to top the tree. When he was almost through the tree he climbed down and we once again heaved with the rope to pull the top off the tree. It came crashing down partially buried in the lawn. Coconut trees are very, very, verrrryyyyy heavy!

A rope was tied to the top of the remaining trunk. We gathered just outside the fence area ready to pull the tree safely away from the house. Sputtering with a vicious appetite to devour wood, the chain saw was applied to the base of the trunk.

We heaved, our muscles bulged, the women were impressed, the chain saw cut, things were going just as I had planned. Did I fail to mention this was all my plan. Yes, I was the successful engineer planning the project all by myself.

The tree began to tilt, the chain saw dug deeper into the watery pulp, success was imminent. My moment of glory was at hand. In slow motion the tree began to fall away from the house under the insistent tug of the rope.

As the tree began its plummet to earth my heart soared in pride. My planning was perfect. Then, in even slower motion, I realized I missed one small, very small, but very important, point. The tree was going to clear the house and that was good. Unfortunately it was headed directly toward the front fence.

Squeezing my eyes shut, scrunching up my shoulders, there was nothing left to do but watch the pending destruction of my fence. Sproing . . .the tree toppled, the fence bent, the job was done. I just stood and stared. Not at the successfully fallen tree but the big dent in my front fence.

I panned perfectly. I gave careful directions. My friends followed my advice. Unfortunately it was only my advice and I missed a very important point. A point which would remind me of my limitation every time I walked out the front door of our home and eyed the bent condition of the front fence.

Solomon was a wise man when he wrote about multiple counselors. There’s a lot to be said about asking for advice. The problem with asking for advice is we don’t like to admit we don’t know something. Solomon understood this point as well.

When we don’t ask advice, whether from God or our colleagues, our plans might fail. When we seek advice, when we seek the Lord’s direction, our plans are established. There is success.

Over the years I’ve learned the wonderful advantage of good counselors, co-workers and expert advice. I still launch out on my own occasionally and usually fall flat on my face.

It’s good to seek advice, direction, and help from God and others. When we combine God’s revelation in our life and his revelation to us through others we’ll succeed. A missionary once pointed out that any project started by God will never fail but many projects started by man for God lie in dust. That is one counselor I need to seek every time, especially if something might be damaged like may poor fence.


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