Lessons from an Oak Tree, Are You Well Rooted?
(Read in :04)“Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”~ Victor Hugo
I’ll never, ever get enough of staring out at the wooded area behind our home. Someday, I’ll linger long enough to watch the sun rise and set through the divided panes. Then I’ll sit back and wait until the Big Dipper twinkles through the branches. As long as I can remember I’ve had a love affair with trees. I share Joyce Kilmer’s sentiment that “I will never see a poem lovely as a tree”. Tree-hugging is a deeply rooted passion in me.
And, I never ever get tired of looking at the beautiful picture of “that tree”. The one in the picture on top. The tall stately oak grows in one of the Metro Parks in Cleveland, Ohio. My brother snapped her portrait one fine autumn day about five years ago. She has lessons for us and a secret, one we can all learn from. First I’ll tell you, then I’ll show you. Stick around.
Lessons from a tree
How tall will a tree grow? She will reach up as high as she possibly can and stretch her arms out as wide as they will go. With a little rain and sunshine, a tree keeps growing as long as it lives. We should watch and learn. People need to keep growing too!
When does a tree reach its peak? Silly question. The answer is trees are beautiful in every season. Naked black branches display themselves artfully against the grey winter sky. And then one day, the buds start to swell and give birth to tender yellow-green shoots of spring. Look fast, this young growth lasts for a brief blink of time.
The hours of daylight stretch into evening, the sun shines brighter and rides higher in the sky. Before we know it, summer arrives and glossy green leaves shimmer and rustle in the breeze. Then, before we are ready, autumn makes her appearance with shorter days and cooler nights. We feel a bit of dread at the approaching change of seasons. But look! Incredibly, the trees burst forth in splendor, exploding with their most glorious colors yet! We must learn that even when we enter Act 3 in our life, we can be lovely and colorful too!!
Jesus always used parables to teach. Most can remember at least a little of the one about the farmer in Matthew 13. He went out to plant some seeds and the deck seemed stacked against him. First, the birds ate a bunch and some fell on a path where they were trampled. A few seeds sprouted in a rocky spot but wilted fast in the shallow soil and then there were those darn thorns….
Now learn this lesson well
But here’s where I want you to camp, in verse 8. This is where it gets good. “Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Rich fertile soil, where roots can push deep down and suck up everything an acorn needs to grow into a towering oak tree. It’s really all about the depth and the width and the branching out and the way roots hold tight to the earth that enables a tree to stand tall and grow big and strong.
Did you know that roots can go as deep as a tree is tall and as wide as the canopy of leaves? And that dear friend is where our strength comes from as well. Our roots. The depth of our roots in believing we are loved by our Creator. The depth of our rootedness in faith. How deep, how wide, how strong are your roots?
“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”~J.R.R. Tolkein
The secret of the old oak tree
Oh, are you waiting for me to show you the secret of the old oak tree? Here it is. The secret is her roots. Deep and wide and firmly attached to the earth. It is only because of her sturdy roots she is still growing straight and strong in this picture, taken today. Five years later, she stands just as tall and proud.
Work on your roots my friends and worry less about the leaves. They come and go with the passage of seasons but our roots are with us always. Thanks for reading all the way through a post that’s a little longer than usual. I do hope you’ll share it with a friend. I’d love to come speak some encouragement to your group. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment. See you again on Monday!