Dear Neighbour …
Mtunzini is a very small coastal town on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. I was not even aware of its existence but it recently has become our new hometown. Our estate agent gave us a local map and tourist information and I was intrigued to discover that Mtunzini is named after the Zulu word ‘emthunzini’ meaning ‘a place in the shade’. The legendary white Zulu chief, John Dunn, used to meet the local tribal elders under the coastal milkwood trees.The brochure said, ‘Visiting the town today gives exactly that feeling – a place in the shade.’ I like that. I need ‘a place in the shade.’ Don’t we all?
Picture a big, shady tree with the branches stretching in every direction providing an area of shade underneath. Trees are a wonderful creation of God. They provide a cool place to sit and rest, they provide a home for the birds, they provide protection from the elements whether sun or rain and some trees even provide fruit to eat!
In the parable of the mustard seed I read that, when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its SHADE. (Mark 4:32)
Birds even need a place in the shade! Trees are their place of rest and protection. Trees are their homes. Have you ever thought how difficult life would be for birds without trees? It should make us think twice before we indiscriminately chop them down. Many birds nest in the trees opposite the Pietermaritzburg City Hall. It is an extraordinary sight to see them flying along the same road routes every day as they make their way out into the suburbs. In the early morning and late afternoon rush hour traffic one can observe flocks of them dipping and diving over the cars as they make their daily morning exodus and their late afternoon return flight. They fly down Alexandra Road and at the Commercial Road intersection they turn left (paying no attention to the robots!) and head off down the main street to their ‘place in the shade.’
People also need ‘a place in the shade.’ Do you know that God wants to be ‘a place in the shade’ for you.
Psalm 121:5 says:
The Lord is your keeper;
THE LORD IS YOUR SHADE at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
Husbands, have you considered that you can be ‘a place in the shade’ for your wife. Song of Solomon 2:3 says:Like an apple tree among the trees in the woods,
So is my beloved among the sons.
I sat down in HIS SHADE with great delight,
And his fruit was sweet to my taste.Christians are described by God as ‘trees’. Psalm 1:3 says:
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
Isaiah 61:3 says,
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord,
that He may be glorified.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, then God has planted you in His kingdom and you can consider yourself to be ‘a tree of righteousness.’ You are no longer standing in your own righteousness but in the righteousness of God. He has planted you alongside His beautiful river that will sustain and prosper you all the days of your life. Others will be drawn to sit under the shade of your boughs and as you produce fruit they will ‘eat’ from your life and God will be glorified.
Dear Neighbour, God desperately wants to be ‘a place in the shade’ for you. Make time in your busy schedule to draw close to Him. It will be a place of refuge for you and a precious place to get to know Him better. As you eat of His Word it will bring Life to your body, soul and spirit.