In the book of Numbers there was a time when there was contention about who got to lead the Israelites. To resolve the issue the Lord performed a miracle in which one of twelve walking sticks overnight grew leaves, blossoms and ripe almonds. This was the staff that stood for the leadership of Moses and Aaron.
The Lord has provided His Word as a guide to us inmany aspects of our life. But the Word is not the only sourceof ideas calling for our attention. Each of us is surrounded bychoices of how to live our lives. Different philosophies of life argue for their own merits. Each philosophy says, “Here, take this power, lean on my ideas.” We ask ourselves “What will make for a better life?”
The Lord comes to us with the promise of a different life. He tells us: “I have come that they might have life and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) This life shows itself in the wisely useful things we do. The Lord also said, “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:20) A person whose life appears particularly fruitful probably cares about different things from others. This caring works with what they know to produce fruit.
The life that produces fruit is a gift from the Lord. He reminds us that we are like branches of a vine that need to receive life from the vine. The problem is that some parts of
our mind separate us from the Lord. They separate us from being better friends, better husbands, better wives, and becoming more useful human beings in general. The Lord calls us to give the attention and mental effort needed to recognize and shun the evil loves that present themselves as thoughts and possible choices in our minds. The Lord wants our lives to be fruitful. This fruitfulness is represented by Aaron's staff bearing leaves, blossoms and ripe almonds. The leaves are good ideas, the blossoms are good motivations, and the almonds are the useful things we actually do.
Different religions can appear as various walking sticks, each with its own ideas and values. Many people have grown up with one that feels comfortable. It is hard to sell them a new one. Yet if they see not just another supportive staff, but instead see in our lives a special fruitfulness, then they will be more likely to take more interest in the religion that helps provide that fruitfulness. They will be motivated to seek the Lord whose life is the real source of those blessings.
The miracle of the staff bearing leaves, blossoms and ripe almonds is an image of the life of a person who is trying to be led by the Lord. It is a miracle that can be perfected to eternity -- a gift from the Lord to those who are freely willing to receive it.