I cut down some oak trees in my yard on Monday. Probably close to a hundred of them actually. Mowed most of them down with my lawnmower, and also pulled a few of them up by their roots.
Lest you get the idea that I am a modern-day Paul Bunyan, those oak “trees” were mere saplings, most about five or six inches in height. We do have two big oak trees in my front yard, one of which produces myriads of acorns during the fall and winter each year, and inevitably some of those get rooted enough in the ground to germinate and eventually start growing a little tree.
I was struck by the reality of the ongoing miracle of nature as I mowed the grass–and trees–on Monday. There have always been sprouting seedlings, but this year seemed to produced an abundant harvest of those miniature trees. The miracle is commonplace I know–how a tree can produce its seeds that find their roots to produce more trees–but it’s no less a miracle. From a small acorn grows, over time, a huge oak.
Of course, many of you who are farmers or gardeners see the same thing year in and year out, but it happens on purpose for you, with plants and flowers you have planted.
In my yard, the trees spring up whether I want them to or not, though they may get a little help from the squirrels who sometimes bury the acorns to eat later. The process of planting and growing, sowing and reaping, is simple: you till the ground, plant the seed, give it care and plenty of water, and in time, the plant grows and the fruit is produced. It is what living things do.
That’s the way God designed the entire created world actually, each species of plant and animal to reproduce after its own kind. It is a natural part of the seasons for living things to reproduce. All it takes is one generation of plant or animal to fail to reproduce and that species will become extinct altogether.
And so we find a clear lesson for the Christian. It is natural, if we are living, to reproduce other Christians. We have been called to share our message of hope with others, so that they too may entrust their lives to our Savior, and find new life in Him. Then, as they are transformed by the gospel, it is only natural for them to spread the message of their Transformer to others. And on and on it goes, reproducing after our own kind.
Which, in reality, is how we got here as followers of Christ in 2018. Those Christ-followers who have walked before us these last two thousand years have planted the seeds of the gospel that have been passed down for generations so that we are the resulting “fruit” of their faithfulness. The question is, who will be the fruit of our lives?
Of course, the process of reproduction requires that we remain healthy, and that requires that we grow strong roots, and stay connected to our source of life, lest we be mowed down by the struggles we face. As Jesus promised, “If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” He went on to add, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.” (John 15:5, 8)
So let us be faithful to our calling, knowing that the greatest oak was once just a little nut that held its ground. May we bear much fruit in our generation, to our Father’s glory.