It finally happened! The tree in my back yard, that I was planning to cut down, fell over. I didn't even know it had happened; my grandson came in from the backyard and shouted, "Pappy, your tree fell down!" He was right. It had toppled to the ground and when I examined it, amazingly, I could find no evidence of any roots. I don't know exactly what happened to them, but without roots the tree had no chance to remain standing. It is much like that in our spiritual life as well...
The writer of Psalm 1 describes the righteous with the following words: "They are like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither - whatever they do they prosper." Obviously the tree described by the Psalmist is one that has both a source (ie. the stream of water) and a healthy root system. The question is: Do we?
Our resource is always the grace of God which is readily available to us. But to access this resource we must develop a spiritual root system which will "sink into the soil" of God's provision for us. When we spend time in prayer each day we are extending our roots. When we read our Bible and meditate we are extending our roots. When we participate in Christian fellowship and holy conversation we are extending our roots. The more roots we develop the more we will be able to access the flow of God's grace in our lives.
Sometimes it seems like our life (or "world") is about to topple over. When we sense this situation we need to examine our roots. For a tree to grow upward, its roots must extend downward. This is true of our life as well - we must be "rooted" in God's love, mercy, and power. In Colossians 2, Paul says it like this, "Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then you faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness."
As we continue into a new year, I encourage us all to examine our roots and make sure they are adequate for the trials and storms life will surly bring.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.