Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Plant a sequoia

My friend Scott gave me a great phrase today. He said that in the church, what we are doing is planting sequoia trees. That is, we are building spiritually mature, Biblically informed, sanctified men, women, and children. But like sequoia trees, they don't start out that way. So you have to plant little saplings, be patient, and have a long-range vision. Meanwhile, do the little things that eventually result in a sequoia: teaching & preaching, care, love, mentoring, and so forth. As the prophet Zechariah put it, don't despise the day of small things (Zechariah 4:10).

The same can be said about parenting. Your goal is a strong, fruitful, healthy adult. But you have to plant a "sapling" and adjust your expectations while he or she grows. You can't get impatient and angry and resentful just because they're not sequoias yet. One day they will be. But for now, you have to do the slow, tedious work of discipline, love, and nourishment.

So, whether you're parenting a child or discipling somebody or leading a church, it helps to remember that you're planting a sequoia. Keep the end in view, but love people for who they are and where they are. It is God "who makes things grow" (1 Corinthians 3:7).


Hana said...

I really like this analogy. I've been realizing that when I am short and impatient with a person's "growth", I am forgetting the unmerited and continuous grace that has been/is being offered to me.

Becky Williams said...

Another great parallel using sequoias as your example is that I have heard that sequoias have shallow root systems and can easily be blown over if they were to be isolated or standing by themselves. It is the strength of a multititude of their roots all interlocking together that keeps them all standing, especially in the stormy and windy times! I'd say that analogy fits well, wouldn't you?