Cottonwood Christianity


We have a family cabin at Priest Lake in Idaho and in the 60-plus years our family has been there we have had a lot of cottonwood trees tear out of the ground in the big storms. Sure, some of the cedars and other trees take damage, but for the most part they stay in the ground.
 
When the cottonwoods grow, their roots tends to stay towards the surface, in other words, they are shallow. They grow out sideways and don’t have a good foundation. That is why they tip over in the storms. The cedars and other trees around have a root system that presses in deeper and deeper to the ground, building a good foundation.
 
We have gone in and removed several cottonwoods over the years to protect our cabin, cars and other buildings because we get some crazy storms up there. They are a pain in the neck. Their root system, because of the way they grow seems to have a never-ending supply of new growth that continues to grow out and not down, leaving us with lots of new weak trees. I read something that said in some areas they have banned the planting of cottonwoods in some neighborhoods because of the damage the roots do and because they tip over on homes and property.
 
Just like the two kinds of trees, those that grow deep roots and those that grow shallow roots, there are also two kinds of Christians-- the ones with deep roots that can withstand a storm and the ones with shallow roots that get knocked over by the storm. Luke 6:46-49 says, "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but, could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."
 
Jesus' parable that I just shared in Luke 6:46-49 about the two houses shows us we need a strong foundation--we need to have deep roots. This parable tells us the difference between storm proof and non-storm proof faith. Both the men heard what Jesus said. However, only one of them put what Jesus said into practice. Are you regularly getting into God’s word on your own?  Do you act on what you read in your everyday life and put it into practice or do you just skim over it and walk away taking nothing with you like the man who built his house on the ground without foundation?
 
When you get into the word on a daily basis, your roots grow a little deeper into Jesus. Just going to meetings won’t do it, just going to church won’t do it and, just hanging out with Christians won’t do it. We need to be in the word daily. I am really seeing the importance of being in the word and letting my roots grow deep in the Lord. I am not perfect about daily study and I think that is why God has put this on my heart. I admit I go through cycles. There are times I hear something and I dive into the word and then in a few days I am back to my old habits. It is something I have had to really change in my life. I want to have roots that will hold strong in the storms of life. When I got this idea about the cottonwoods and my faith, I felt it was just for me. A reality check from God telling me I need to be in His word if I am ever going to grow and if I want to keep hearing from Him. Now I see it is something for all of us so I wanted to share it.
 
Looking back on this I see that when I originally posted it on my blog God had been pushing me to really dig in more to Him. He had really begun showing me it was time to put into action what Jesus was saying. I have begun to make it a priority to read and study. As I did that my roots began to grow deeper. The same will happen for every one when they take time to read and study God’s word. He wants to change us all through His Word a little bit each day.
 
Are you deep rooted or are your roots shallow like a cottonwood? When the storms of life hit will you be knocked to the ground? Or, do you have the kinds of roots that will leave you standing strong no matter how fierce the storm gets?  

3 comments:

Tom said...

Thanks Kim! Eph. 3:14-19!

Life is short but God is sweet said...

looking back on this post (I wrote it about 6 weeks ago to share with my church) I am so am thankful I wrote it. Little did I know, I was going to go through a storm of my own. I held on to my faith and to the hope and love of God in the middle of the storm. I didn't fall apart, I stayed strong and I am happy to say my roots are running deep.

the post before this one has my walk in the storm (I was faced with chance of having cancer) in and I am stronger in my faith after coming out of it.

Erin said...

Thanks Kim for the great words reminding us that complacency isn't the way to continue a relationship with the Lord. I am guilty myself of not getting into His Word more. Your gentle reminder of what's truly important in our daily walk with God is so appreciated.