Lifelong Laborers & Life-Giving Sap

On a windy day recently the 30-year-old tree in our back yard toppled over. One look at the stump revealed why. Only a small bit of the tree was green. The rest was dry, without any life-giving sap. No wonder it fell over!

As I considered this, God brought to mind my friend Ron as well as a verse in Psalms that speaks of the righteous: “They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green” (Psalm 92:14, ESV). This verse speaks of the spiritually solid who have a strong core of green wood full of the sap of God’s life. That well describes Ron. He’s enjoying his mid-seventies and leads a team of seven people who minister spiritual life to others. Ron was a part of our ministry team in the Midwest when we first joined Nav staff in 1973.

Not long ago Ron had just finished a phone call with a ministry partner when he experienced the severe chest pains of a heart attack. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors put in a stent. On the night before Ron’s release the nurse rolled in a new roommate named Todd. The two had some discussion about Christ. Ron asked Todd if he could pray for him the next day before leaving. As Ron was preparing to leave, Todd went into cardiac arrest requiring “the paddles” to bring him back. His wife cried out to God not to take him since he did not know Christ. That same day, with Todd’s wife looking on, Ron led Todd to the Lord. Soon Todd shared the good news of his Christian commitment when friends came to visit.

Of course, I can tell you plenty of stories about Ron—through the years and to this very day. The point is, here’s a man who is very full of God’s sap, green and bearing fruit in old age. (And he wants God to receive the glory for this story and his life.) In The Navigators we call him a lifelong laborer—someone who is vibrant in the Lord and reproduces spiritual life in others. May God continue to use us to raise up and send out laborers like Ron to advance the Gospel of the Kingdom. 

In order to protect the privacy of the people in this story, fictitious names have been used.