There are some trees that you can buy today that grow amazingly fast. The Royal Empress tree, for example, grows 12 feet per year. Some years ago, having purchased a townhome that was surrounded by freshly-graded mud and few generic shrubs, I considered ordering such a tree. I mentioned it to a neighbor who pointed to a tree in his own yard--it happened to be a similar fast-growing tree.

"You see this?" the neighbor asked. "It's splitting at the base. It wasn't strong enough to stand the pressure of growing that tall that fast." A year or two later it was taken down and the stump removed. When the grass grew back, you would never have known that it was there.

We would all like our own churches to explode in new growth--new people coming in by the busload every Sunday and telling their friends, who come the following week in still another bus. Sounds good to me! But the trees that last and eventually grow the tallest are the ones who first send down deep roots so that they can survive drought or famine. They reach up only when they are strong enough to support the new weight. Over time, some of those little branches become mighty limbs covered in energy-receiving leaves.

This strikes me as the best way to grow a tree. It's not the only way, to be sure. But I'd rather read a book under one of those than under a fast-grower. Athletes experience this all the time when artificially-enhanced muscles create a load that their tendons can't bear. Too much, too fast...but it sure looks good!

No one is suggesting a church can't grow rapidly, especially when there is a revival. God can support all the limbs as easily as you or I can hold a paper clip in our hand. Leonard Ravenhill said, "People say today that the church is growing and expanding. Yes, it's 10 miles wide now--and about a quarter-inch deep."

We can be both deep and wide as individual and as churches. But in order to do this, we must stay rooted in Biblical truth and reach out to the needy. Only the strongest trees can do both at the same time.

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. 2 Thessalonians 1:3

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There are 2 comments

May each one of us be fertilized by the Word of God,grow in Grace, and produce love for each other.

March 13, 2010 - 04:16

May our church be a strong tree...deep in the Word and reaching out our "branches" to help others.

March 12, 2010 - 13:57
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