by: Ellene Meece
In today's environmentally correct agenda of "going green," we as Christians and believers in the power and goodness of God were "green" before going green was cool. Our green status provides us the opportunity of being and staying green in quite another impacting way. You see, God's analogy is that we are His "trees" planted by the water that spreads out its roots by the river; we shall not see and fear when heat (an economic crash) comes, but our leaves shall stay green! Furthermore, we shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall we cease yielding fruit. [Jeremiah 17:7-8 Amp]
December 1931, living in the desolate and so-called "god-forsaken" town of Wall on the edge of the South Dakota Badlands in central part of the United States, Ted and Dorothy Hustead knew all about drought and economic collapse. They had purchased the only drug store and wondered if they had made the right decision in investing their inheritance in this place after Ted graduated from Pharmacy School. Day after day, no sign of an improved lifestyle was shown within Wall and people in the cars that drove through seldom stopped. But Ted and Dorothy prayed and gave themselves a five-year trial.
By the time the summer of 1936 came around, the business hadn't grown much at all and Ted was ready to give up. With two children now in their lives, and the hopes of the completion of the monument at Mount Rushmore still on the horizon, the godly couple had a decision to make; their five-year trial would be over in December.
The traffic on Highway 16A had increased for sure, but still hadn't found their way to the drug store right on the highway. One hot afternoon, Dorothy had an inspiration. She asked Ted what he thought the travelers really wanted after driving across that hot prairie. "They want water. Ice cold water!" she exclaimed! Then she asked, "Why don't we put up signs on the highway telling people to come here for free ice water?"
Thus the famous Wall Drug signs were born; the first series staggered out on the side of the highway, proclaimed:
"Get a soda
Get a root beer
Turn next corner
Just as near
To Highway 16 and 14
Free ice water
By the time the first signs were posted, people were already showing up for ice water, and for hours, they poured into the drug store while Ted and Dorothy poured gallons of ice water, made ice cream cones, and gave directions.
The next summer, they had to hire eight girls to help serve free ice water to the hot and thirsty travelers. In 1941, the popular Mount Rushmore was completed and by 1982, Wall Drug was drawing up to twenty thousand people on a good summer day.
Ted and Dorothy are a wonderful example to us today. They were trees, green trees, planted by the river of God's economy, sharing life and the love of God in the midst of drought and despair.
So, no matter what our own temporary circumstances are, no matter what "heat" comes our way, we can keep our "green" status; we can stay green! We have God's ability within us to keep loving people, giving our time and energy to those even more affected than we are, encouraging each other, staying attuned to our employees or co-worker's needs, sharing our hearts and dollars or maybe even a cup of cold water - and being green and fruitful in the midst of it all.
Ellene Meece lives in Meeker, Colorado and works with her husband in their natural resource company while running her own online store, http://www.Grandmastreasuresonline.com. Currently, she oversees the marketing for the FMIN Workplace Leaders Network and is on staff at the Meeker Chamber of Commerce.
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