Two weeks ago, the 40-foot tall Cottonwood tree in our backyard blew over during a storm, barely missing the house. We were saddened, but not surprised. The tree had been leaning for a while. My husband even anchored it with a cable to try to save it, but its shallow root system left it unstable and vulnerable. It had roots running in all directions – the many suckers proved that. But all of them were too near the surface; none of them had grown deep into the ground. A West Texas rainstorm easily uprooted the tree.
Many Christians resemble that Cottonwood tree. Above ground everything looks good. Like the tree – green and producing leaves like crazy – our lives brim over with the things of God. Church activity. Service. Good works. Other people may even see our lives and think “She must be walking very close to God. Look at everything she’s doing!”
Unfortunately, many of us are so busy with “doing” we forget “to be.” We fail to spend enough time sitting with our heavenly Father, listening to Him, learning from Him, and allowing the Holy Spirit to shape and strengthen our lives. Believe me, I’ve been there. In fact, I still struggle with making quiet surrender before God more important than the “me-directed,” busyness of faith.
Now good works are important. They absolutely are. In fact, before God ever saved us He already had good works planned for us (Eph 2:10). But our relationship with God must be our priority. Service, good works, and church ministry directly result from the relationship.
The first Psalm beautifully portrays this truth.
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:1-3, NIV
As we grow deep roots in our relationship with God, He will provide the direction, equipping, and power we need to accomplish all He lays out before us. Our lives will be green with foliage and heavy with fruit. And when the rain comes we will stand firm.
Are your roots deep in relationship with God? Or do you feel “top heavy?” What ways have you found to foster closeness and intimacy in your relationship with God?
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Amen, Kathy. The tree is a great illustration we can’t miss, but we are often better disguised … at least until a storm comes. Oh to grow deep!
Oh, Kathy, how true it is that we often get too busy with good works. Although it is all good, we do need the time to refuel with Him on a regular basis. Over the years I have learned to say no to good works; I no longer over-commit myself. Like you said, He already has laid out the work for us; we do not need to earn the salvation, but we do good works because of it. I was mixed up for some time.
I learn more and more each day what it means to follow Him.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom.