Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Tale of Two Trees

In San Diego's popular Balboa Park this amazing tree is a testament to the benefits of a strong root system. It is a Moreton Bay Fig tree and it was planted in 1914. In 2008 it was listed as having "a girth of 42 feet, a height of 80 feet and a canopy of 145 feet."

I took this picture on our la
st trip to San Diego while my children and I stood and marveled at the extensive tangles of roots winding and twisting their way to and through the earth. We felt and looked tiny under this sprawling giant that was so generous with its shade (my then-10 year old daughter is standing on the left side of the full-view picture). It is clearly an incredibly healthy tree, well-nourished, amply watered and firmly established in fertile soil. People come from all over to stand in its shadow. It is so impressive it is even listed in the California Registry of Big Trees!

I hav
e another picture of a tree with an extensive root system. This one is in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park. While these roots once provided water and nutrients to the large tree they supported, something happened to disconnect the roots from the ground. Maybe a powerful wind or a lightning strike, or disease caused this tree to fall down, but whatever the cause, the roots could no longer do their job and the tree could no longer draw life through them. I couldn't tell by looking what kind of tree this was, and it is not on any list of outstanding trees. Many people walk by it on the trail without stopping.

It isn't enough for a tree to have roots, no matter how complex they may be. A tree's roots must be growing in the ground in order to have access to the life-giving resources the tree ne

My Christian life is no different. I have wonderful roots of faith that go back many generations, and I have a wide and complex system of roots of Scripture knowledge passed on to me by my parents, pastors, teachers, and authors which can equip me to continue to live and grow as a believer. However, my Christian roots will only sustain me if I am not just rooted, but also grounded, that is, my roots dig down into fertile spiritual soil, which the Bible says is love.

" . . . you, being rooted and grounded in love, . . . " Ephesians 3:17 (NASB)

Groundedness, stability, permanence . . . such solid, dependable concepts. I want my life to be like the mighty fig tree in Balboa Park, making an impression, memorable to all who see it, standing tall and strong as a vivid monument of life and lasting beauty. I may not be on any earthly "Who's Who" list, but I very much want to live in such a manner as to be remembered in a durable way. I want to be so rooted and so grounded in the love of my Father in heaven that I can be a memorable, lasting testimony to the extreme, radical love of the One who came to save all who will believe . . . all who will put down roots in His love.

I pray with Paul, for myself, and for you,

. . . that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)

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