How Is a Ham Bone Like a Cedar Tree?

I met Kathy in the autumn of 2005, when I was new to our church and feeling a bit friendless. It was Easter 2006, so I had only known Kathy for a few months. We were chatting about our Easter-meal plans. I think I was planning on making a ham, but I don’t remember. Kathy’s mother, Charlotte, was flying over for the holiday. Others in her family were coming, too (I think—my memory is fuzzy on that). I do remember very clearly that Kathy ordered a ham from Honeybaked. I drooled when she told me.

“Oooh!” I said, still drooling. “Are you going to make split-pea soup with the ham bone?” I loved making split-pea soup from ham bones. I imagined how ham stock made with a Honeybaked Ham would taste.

“Nah, I’m not into that,” Kathy answered.

Several days later, after Easter, I was doing this or that in the kitchen when my doorbell rang. My doorbell never rings unless it’s a solicitor, so I approached the front door with my guard up.

Sock-footed, I walked stealthily to the door and looked through the peephole. Immediately my guard went down; it was Kathy! The furrowed-brow wrinkles above my eyes migrated and turned into smiling crow’s feet at the sides of my eyes. I opened the door. In her hands was something in a plastic bag, the kind you get from Safeway or King Soopers.

The first words out of her mouth: “I brought you a ham bone!”

Wide-eyed and wordless, I took the bag.

“I even left quite a bit of the meat on it, too,” Kathy explained.

I never knew how much a picked-over ham bone would mean to me. It meant she was listening. It meant that one day, in her own kitchen, cleaning after a big family Easter dinner, she thought of me. It meant she remembered I liked ham bones for split pea soup. It meant I was a friend.

I often don’t realize who I am or how God has blessed or gifted me until someone else recognizes it and expresses the recognition in real actions.

Then Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David with cedar trees and carpenters and stonemasons; and they built a house for David. And David realized that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted his kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.
(1 Samuel 5:11-12)

What Hiram did was a form of encouragement. I have friends like this, friends who have helped me see who I am, what I should be doing, what I am to them. Friends who send me cedar trees (or ham bones). Thank God.

What cedar tree could I send? Whom should I be encouraging in this way?

Lord, I have received it. How can I give it? To whom?

This Thursday Bonnie Gray hosts a community of those who share about the power of encouragement. Click on the FaithBarista badge below to read more posts on encouragement!

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12 thoughts on “How Is a Ham Bone Like a Cedar Tree?

  1. What a wonderful example of encouragement and friendship! I love split pea soup, but not my husband, so I don’t make it. Now I use my ham bone for ham and beans that we both like.

  2. I really enjoyed this. So well written and I love hearing stories like this. I’m looking for someone to guest blog for my weekly column “The Chronicles of Church Fellowship.” Let me know if you would like to contribute. The details are on my page. These are the kind of stories I wish more Christians who have had bad experiences with church would hear. It’s the Christian family coming together as they should and encouraging one another.

  3. Wow. Monica — I love this verse you shared in this post. I didn’t even know this. Thank you! It’s making me think of how God is encouraging me… and how He uses us all to touch each other with God’s message. But, we must be on the lookout to notice! I’m going to keep my heart eyes open!

  4. Monica – I love how you write. I could see it happening. I love this blog – can I get on it with email notices? I am so backward when it comes to this stuff but I want to be able to keep up with you and the family. I love you lady – thank you for sharing this great story. You already gave me a hambone -= you wrote me to tell me you were praying for me during this very difficult time. I so love that you cared enough to do that! I am constantly blessed by you and am so proud of how you are allowing God to grow you!

  5. What a wonderful story about two of my favorite FEFC’ers!!! Love the way you have described in Monica. It reminds me of a quote from “Shaped by the Word” which says something like this: our relationship with God is lived out in our relationship with one another. Friends – can’t live without them!!!!

  6. Hey Monica, just today we went to a Chinese (EVFree) Church because my daughter wanted to (her father is American born Chinese) and I was sitting there feeling this odd sense of home, and remembered God having once told me he wanted me to speak his word to Chinese people and I’m sort of tip toeing into that calling, (discipleship, not evangelism) and then we stay for lunch after and this dear lady opens her heart to me (and inside I’m smiling up at God) even though her English isn’t perfect but my Chinese is really really basic (colors, food names) and then I think to ask her name. It’s Zoe. “That’s a Greek name!” Turns out her husband is a Greek born Jew, and she’d been praying for someone she could open her heart to and grow with in the faith. She’s leaving this week for two months back in China and asked for prayer for her family’s salvation. Oh yes. I’m tip toeing into the fields ripe for harvest but I am blind until I obey. Could you pray for Zoe’s family?
    (You do get my ham bone, here?)

  7. I love this story, Monica. Kathy sounds like a great friend. Listening is one thing, but ACTING on what we hear? That takes special effort. You are one of those kind of cedar tree giving friends for me :). You have blessed me with your gifts on countless occasions.

  8. Pingback: How Is a Ham Bone Like a Cedar Tree? | Know-Love-Obey God

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