My dad has been teaching a Sunday school for about eight years. In addition to his weekly lesson, he prepares and sends out what he calls the mid-week pick-me-up. This past week's mid-week convicted me, and I'd like to share.
The ripple effect…
Our yard is filled with oak trees. Recently one of them was uprooted by a wind storm. Prior to the storm, that tree appeared to be healthy. It had lots of green leaves and the bark was intact. What caused it to fall? As I examined the stump of the tree, I determined that the roots had rotted just below the surface and this allowed it to succumb to the wind.
This might not appear to be a big deal, but what were the ripple effects of those rotted roots?
When the tree fell, it took down our power lines, the cable lines, and the pole that they were connected to.
The power company sent a crew out to set a new pole and rerun the power lines. The cable company also had a crew of men here for about an hour and a half. The financial aspect of those rotted roots probably amounts to several thousands of dollars in man-hours and material.
Additionally, our daughter was at home alone when this happened. Spending the night in a dark house in the woods wasn’t something she wanted to experience. Thankfully, our neighbors recognized her dilemma and invited her to stay with them. All of this because of rotted roots.
Why am I telling you this in the mid-week update? Let’s compare ourselves to that tree. On the outside we have lots of green leaves, our bark is intact, and we appear to be strong Christians. But if we don’t have strong, deep roots, we will fall like that tree the next time we face Satan’s attacks; and we might take others with us.
That temptation might be in the form of gossip, an angry word, or apathy towards God. When others see or hear how we respond, they might be tempted to do the same things. The ripple effects of our lives can reach into areas that we never know about.
God’s word gives us several examples of the importance of strong, sound roots:
Psalms 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly…. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; …
Matthew 13:6 "… and because they had no root they withered away.
Matthew 13:21 "yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
This forces me to ask two questions: are my roots strong enough to support me, and what are the ripple effects of my life? Am I like the tree in my yard, waiting for the first strong wind to blow me over and cause destruction to those around me? Or am I like the tree planted by the rivers of water?
Our roots will only be as secure as the substance they dig into; and our ripples will only be as effective as our choices. Have you dug deep into God’s word today and have you made Godly choices?
Today I made a choice at work that I would not get involved in the usual "banter" that permeates our facility. I didn't gossip, bad-mouth, or insult anyone all day. This was very difficult for me because I usually start most of it.
While it is usually in fun and a form of stress-release, it also causes ripples that don't need to be in the water. One 8-hour shift in 28 years...baby steps!
I have been graciously cleansed and renewed by the blood of Jesus, but I know I've got a lot of sanctification to go through yet. I didn't act like a tree planted by the waters of life today. I know that this wasn't right. With the Holy Spirit's help, I'd like to fix it.
|Photo from Millie's and my trip in Greenville|