I used to think that trees had deep roots – that if a person could see the underground part of a tree it would be a mirror image of the tree itself.
Turns out that’s not true. Most tree roots are in the top three feet of soil, and a majority of those are in the top twelve inches.
I suppose that’s why this can sometimes happen:
A big ole’ tree, just up and tumbled down in a wind storm, roots and all.
It left a mighty big hole behind, but not near so big as I used to think the root hole of such a giant tree would be.
Jesus’ parable about the seeds makes it clear that deep roots are necessary for a fruitful life.
But deep roots don’t just happen.
They require regular watering (in with life) and diligent weeding (out with death).
But in another sense, deep roots do just happen.
When Christ makes his home in our hearts and when we trust in him, our roots will grow down into God’s love and keep us strong (Ephesians 3:17). As we continue to follow him and let our roots grow down into him, our lives will be built up on him (Colossians 2:7).
In one of the many ironies of Christianity, I have no power on my own to grow deep roots in Christ, but I do have every freedom to prevent deep roots from growing –
– by not drinking deeply of his living water
– by not soaking up his brilliant light
– by not welcoming his gardener’s care
– and mostly by not redirecting myself from self towards him.
Like the tallest tree, I will surely tumble and fall if my roots are sunk into the stinky, rotten, stony soil of me rather than the sweet, rich, saving soil of Jesus.
The noble phrase “grow where you’re planted” is subtly undergirded with self-importance and achievement.
Better to “be planted where you will grow.” Where true Light shines (on even the darkest days). Where living Water flows (through even the driest lands). Where utter Truth prevails (in even the murkiest worlds). And where a loving Gardener does all the necessary work to produce fruitful lives.