a devotional by Sarah Lyle
The home that I grew up in had a long driveway that cut through a forest as it snaked up to our house. There were different types of trees that lined the driveway. Apple trees, pine trees, maples and oaks. They were all of different shapes and sizes as well, some older and some younger, some thin and willowy and others that stood straight and proud.
Each year, we would have at least one storm that would shake the house, sending all my siblings running inside to escape the roaring wind, the pouring rain, or sometimes the heavy cold snowfall. As we were inside the house, safe and sound, we watched the trees bend over so far, I thought for sure we would watch them break before our eyes! I never saw a tree break in front of me, but sometimes I would hear a “crack!” that boomed through the forest, and I would know that a tree had fallen due to the heavy storms. What was the difference between one tree and the next, that one would fall and the other last another day?
Matthew, Chapter 13 verses 1 through 9:
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”
What was Jesus saying here? Each one of you, as children of God, are growing in your faith each day. You spread your roots into the ground, seeking food and water from the Lord to nourish you. What happens when the ground is thin, and there is no room for you to spread your roots? Read on in chapter 13 of Matthew to see what Jesus has to say about his parable:
“Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Which plant do you think that you are? Do you feel as if you are being dried up by the sun, scorched and burning with nowhere to hide? Do you feel as if you are being choked, that your relationship with Jesus is not the top thing in your life? Jesus calls us to seek him, to lean on him, and to draw from his living water.
Jeremiah Chapter 17 verses 7 and 8:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Think about the wonder that a tree of that kind would bring! A tree that no matter the weather, no matter how little water it is given, always stays perfectly healthy and produces fruit. If you are struggling with your relationship with Jesus, if you feel that your tree is dry and choked by weeds, pray to the Lord that He would sustain you. Examine your life and think about what is keeping you from the living water that God offers to you. Are you too busy with school and homework to spend time with your Maker? Find time in your day, set it aside each morning and night, so that you can connect with Him. Don’t convince yourself that you don’t have time to open His Word, because if you have time to play on your phone or text your friends, watch TV or read a different book, you have time to spend with your Father. This time with Him will allow you to be like the tree that Jeremiah talks about, one that can bear fruit through all seasons. Can you imagine your life like that? One where you trust and use God’s power in your life?
Going back to the trees that lived by my house: The trees didn’t know for sure what day would bring the rain, so each day they tried to grow as much as they could. They stuck their roots in as deep as they could, and grew as strong and tall as possible. Remember to be like these trees each day, growing and striving to be more like Christ so that when the day comes and you are feeling overwhelmed and tired, you can depend on your roots to keep you upright.
God Bless you!
“…but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”