Lessons from the Giant Redwoods

Dear Friends,

I have been reading about Giant Redwoods this week.  I learnt that these incredible trees can grow to 247 feet high, with a diameter of around 20 feet.  They can live for a few thousand years.  They are continually growing, even when they are hundreds of feet tall; their trunk grows wider and their upper branches grow stronger.  It has been found that the older they get the more their rate of growth increases. They need abundant water and have shallow root systems which intertwine with the roots of other Redwoods.

I found this information fascinating and even more so as I considered
what these trees can teach us about our Christian life.  Let me take these next few moments to share some things with you:

1. Our God is an amazing Creator God.  He created all things.  He did so with such creativity and imagination. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. 12 The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:1, 11-12 (NLT) There is so much variety in the things he has made.  Trees are just one example.  There is not just one kind of tree but many, the Giant Redwood being only one of them.  Have you ever wondered where your creativity came from?  Well, here's your answer, from God himself!

2. Just as these trees continue to grow even in old age, there are ways that I can continue to grow as a Christian.  Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:9-11 "I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God." (NLT) I will never get to the point where I know everything about being a follower of Jesus, no matter how long I have been a Christian.  I want to keep growing in my knowledge of God and in my relationship with him.  I want to keep growing in my love for God and for others.  I want to grow to become more like Jesus.  I want to grow as I learn from others.  In the church I attend we are blessed with people who are spiritually mature and by their example also demonstrate to us that we are never too old to learn and grow.  That's the kind of attitude I always want to have.

3.  These trees grow upwards towards the light and they also need abundant water so that they are healthy.  I need Jesus in my life and this is what he said of himself “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12 (NLT)  I need his presence in my life so that I know which direction to take.  I need him to light my way.  I need his light to help me know the difference between what is right and what is wrong.  His light is necessary for my life and is the source of my life.

In the bible water is used as a symbol for the Holy Spirit. This is what Jesus said in John 7:38-40a (NLT) "38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’ 39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him.)"  I need God's Holy Spirit in me.  He is the one who produces new life in me, who helps me to grow more like Christ and who gives me the power and strength to live for God. In one of his prayers Paul said this: "16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT)

4. These trees have root systems which intertwine with the roots from other Redwoods growing near them.  It's a system which provides them with strength and support.  Just like these trees I need to be connected with other Christians.  I cannot live the life God intended for me on my own.  I need good, strong friendships with others.  I have shared before how important friends are to me.  I am also blessed to belong to a great women's life group.  Within this group we realise we are not alone when we face difficulties and storms, we encourage each other, are accountable to each other, learn from one another, and grow together. I need them and likewise they need me.  We are connected to one another because we share the same faith in God, we are part of his family. Paul writes "I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Colossians 2:2-3 (NLT).  Or as it's paraphrased by Phillips "How I long that you may be encouraged, and find out more and more how strong are the bonds of Christian love. How I long for you to grow more certain in your knowledge and more sure in your grasp of God himself. May your spiritual experience become richer as you see more and more fully God’s great secret, Christ himself! For it is in him, and in him alone, that men will find all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

Do I, do you, see in our Christian life similarities with the life of a Giant Redwood?

To Think About:
Do you want to grow as a Christian?  In what ways would you like to grow?

How would relying more on the Holy Spirit make a difference to your life?

What support system do you have in place?  Who is part of this support system?  In what ways can you support and strengthen one another?

Vicki


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